Allegory and Truman Show

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Allegory and Truman Show

The Allegory of the Cave has many parallels with The Truman Show. Initially, Truman is trapped in his own “cave”; a film set or fictional island known as Seahaven. Truman’s journey or ascension into the real world and into knowledge is similar to that of Plato’s cave dweller. In this paper, I will discuss these similarities along with the very intent of both of these works whose purpose is for us to question our own reality.

In his Allegory Plato shows us how a man ascends from the darkness of a cave to the light of the outside world. In this ascent Plato’s man passes through four distinct stages of cognition: from imagination, to belief, understanding, and finally knowledge.


In this first stage of cognition, the cave dweller is shackled and can only see shadows of figures on the wall in front of him. His reality is based on his imagination of these figures. “To them, I said, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.” Similarly, Truman’s reality is based on this imaginary world where his parents, wife, and everyone else around him are hired actors. Early in the film Truman seems to be happy although he is already starting to imagine himself in Fiji which he points out is the furthest place from Seahaven.


In the second stage, the cave dweller can now see the objects that previously only appeared to him as shadows. “Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer th...
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