Sunday, February 10, 2008

Failure of Panopticism in The Truman Show

It seems that the Panoptic vision did not succeed within the Truman Show because its measures were not fully executed. The fact that it was a television show undermines one of the key ideas behind it. Foucalt says that "The more numerous those anonymous and temporary observers are, the greater the risk for the inmate of being surprised and the greater his anxious awareness of being observed (229). Although Ed Harris attempts to control every element of Truman's life, he is incapable of doing so because his human needs did not allow him to be omniscient and because of the great number of temporary observers present in the Truman Show's viewers. Since Ed Harris could not execute his control on the viewers, it allowed for them to work free of the shows Panoptic system and breach it.

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