Concept Of Genius In The Truman Show

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“It isn’t always Shakespeare, but it’s genuine.” What is the significance of this term? From Christof’s perspective, what is genuine about the show he has created? From our perspective, what is genuine about the Truman Show?

Shakespeare is the pinnacle of good drama and comedy, always having a purpose to his plays; Christof states that his show isn’t comparable to Shakespeare’s work although it is just as authentic and real. “It isn’t always Shakespeare, but it’s genuine.” ‘The Truman Show’ is based on the premise of a reality television show, created by its producer, Christof. The main protagonist is Truman, who explores his manipulated world in the setting Seahaven. Seahaven is an aesthetically pleasing town created by Christof, giving the entire premise of the show a lack of (unauthenticity). Christof not only controls Seahaven, but also manipulates Truman’s life, and his entire perspective on reality by intervening in every aspect of his life; from selecting his parents to supposedly making him fall in love with his wife, Beryl. Despite Christof’s perverted control, Truman and his resilience is nothing short of genuine and true.

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Christof asserts the show to be a completely genuine reality although he is omnipotent and orchestrates all the events in Truman’s life. Christof’s name itself has him ironically depicted as ‘Christ-like’, alluding to him god. The main vehicle that conveys his control over not only Truman but the entirety of Seahaven is the use of the moon as ‘god’ innuendo to a heaven up above the show as an all seeing all knowing being. Christof monitors and controls the whole dome through the artificial

‘Lunar room’. He has such dogmatic manipulation over Truman, that he has psychologically programmed him to be terrified of water; causing him incredible grief, pain, anguish and guilt by making him responsible for his father’s death. This was direct manipulation to keep Truman within the vicinity of Christof’s creation and provide a sensational dramatic experience for the audience. The use of flashbacks to his young life, reinforce viewers how Christof has emotionally scarred Truman. “We accept the reality of the world which we’re presented” tells the audience that Truman’s perspective on reality is modified by the persuasion of Christof’s perfect world; thus proving that Truman’s perspective is the only genuine element. Undeniably, Christof’s ‘genuine’ perspective of the show he has created is contrary to that of the audience.

Seahaven is the perfect society where equity is ever-present; this ‘perfect’ cliché community can be questioned about its authenticity. White picket fences, clean white buildings, spotless streets, monotonous sameness and picture-perfectness are idyllic rather than realistic. Seahavens name itself has it ironically portrayed as a haven, a place of security and harmony. Peter Weir utilises the stereotypical voice over of the narrator to explore the monotony of Truman’s day. “Truman begins another day, in the perfect city of Seahaven, with his beautiful wife and wonderful job.” “The Truman show is a lifestyle. It’s a noble life… a blessed life”, despite saying this, Meryl cannot stand being Truman’s wife but still acts as so to keep the show on its feet, epitomising irony. The size of the perfect round moon in many shots also depicts the artificialness of the environment. During the film some flaws in the set are pointed out such as the rain falling on one spot. Indisputably, the island of Seahaven is not a genuine city but in Truman’s perspective, it is otherwise.

Truman is controlled, manipulated and used for ratings, sponsorship and money; however, his perspective on reality is the only genuine component in the show. All he sees, hears, feels and sometimes even thinks is synthesised through Christof. Nevertheless, there is nothing fake about Truman and his resilience. He genuinely falls in love with Sylvia and with desperation, will do anything within his capability to get her. “We have so little time, they’re gonna be here any minute”. Shortly after Sylvia murmurs this, she and Truman share an intimate kiss; sympathetically portraying the genuine element between them. “They’re gonna be here” symbolically refers to Christof’s corrupt and controlling power over Truman and the show. He will not allow his child to follow his honest emotions and wants to keep him in his womb forever, not exposing him to any form of reality. Truman’s name has ironically originated from true man; being the only true man in Seahaven. Unquestionably, the only genuine element in the Truman Show, from our view is Truman and his perspective.

Resolutely, the show is completely illegitimate and manipulated by Christof, achieving entertainment through the authenticity and innocence of Truman. By the choreographing of Truman’s life, Peter Weir depicts how false and constructed images can confuse people with reality. Beyond any doubt, Truman is the only genuine element in the show.


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