The film, The Truman Show centers on the life of Truman Burbank. At birth, a major television network legally adopts Truman, to be the unknowing star of a television series. His entire life is broadcasted, live to an audience of millions, through a complex series of hidden cameras. Christof, the omnipotent main figure behind The Truman Show, constructs an artificial world that revolves around Truman, entitled Seahaven, which is essentially just an extremely large television set. Everyone participating in this created world is an actor except for Truman himself. For the duration of his life, the television network is on a never-ending mission to keep him in ignorance of his situation through the manipulation of his environment. The film then follows Truman’s eventual realization of the true nature of his reality and his dramatic escape from the artificial world. In the film Christof says, “We accept the reality which we are presented.” I strongly agree with this idea.
At first, Truman is in acceptance of his odd existence. For example, he does not question why his wife holds products up and describes them, as if she was in a television commercial. He does not wonder why everything happens at the same time every day, since he has not known it to be anything else. He knows the whole world revolves around him, but he does not question it because it has been that way his entire life. Several production mistakes cause Truman to awaken from his beliefs. A stage light falls from the ‘sky’, strange messages are broadcast on his car radio, and he even sees a man who looks like his father who had died several years/episodes earlier.
To prevent Truman from discovering his false reality, Christof has invented means of dissuading his drive for exploration, including “killing” his father in a storm while on a fishing trip to instill in him a fear of the water. Not only that, but he made many news reports and adverts about the dangers of travelling, as well as featuring television shows about how good it is to stay at home. Truman, being the rebellious and intrepid character he is, decides to escape his reality by facing his fears and sailing beyond the horizon of what he knows.
There exists much symbolism behind the names Truman and Christof. Truman, or “Tru-man”, represents how he is the only true or “real” person in this constructed world, especially since his friends and family are all paid actors/actresses. Christof, having unlimited power and knowledge over The Truman Show, represents Jesus Christ. We see the irony of Christof being described as “a man who covets his privacy and seldom grants interviews.” At the conclusion of the show, when Christof reveals himself to Truman through a booming loudspeaker from the sky, his first words are, “I am the Creator…of a TV show”. Finally, we see that Christof has the power to crush Truman with just the touch of a finger, just like God.
I believe that all events are fated in some way. That could be a short-term fate relating to decisions recently made or through some higher power and unseen force. I do not have much control over the events that transpire in my event. Although, I do believe that I have absolute power of my attitude as well as the way I choose to respond to those events. At all times, I have the power to decide how I think. I can choose to be grateful and appreciative of all my blessings, and view life with a positive outlook. Alternatively, I can do the exact opposite. That is all up to me. I have the gift of free will in world where fate and destiny exist. For almost 30 years, Truman accepted the reality presented by Christof through the cast and crew of The Truman Show, because it never occurred to him that the world might be otherwise.
For Truman, that was reality. I have not accepted the reality presented to me and I continue to question everything. How did the universe come to be? What was here before the universe? What was here before God? Was God always here? These questions are overwhelming and really mess with the idea of my existence. Although, I do think I exist because I am conscious, and my senses keep me connected with the world around me. What keeps me from knowing I am dreaming is the presence of time and the ability to feel physical pleasure or pain? For the most part, I believe God is in control of our lives. We have freedom to choose within the constraints of who we are and the circumstances we find ourselves in. Yet while God controls those circumstances, he does not control us. While God is able to control us, and if he wanted to, he could override our freedom, he chooses not to. I was put on this planet at this time for a reason, and I believe is God’s job to make sure I fulfill the purpose my life serves.
We do accept the reality that we are presented, because, for the most part, we are not aware of the realities beyond ours. Sometimes we must break away from our perceptions to discover more about the ‘tru-man’ within. For instance, drugs alter perceptions and thus alter our reality and create a new reality. Every night when we go to bed, we enter a dream world that is very real to us at the time. Our reality is based on our own personal perceptions, which can easily be altered by outside influences. So can we be sure that our reality is actually real? We cannot, and therefore, we just have to accept the reality, which we are presented.