On the surface, The Truman Show is an entertaining drama of a heartless human experiment. But if you look a bit deeper many thought-provoking questions arise: What is freedom? Are you still free if you are being manipulated and controlled by others? How do you become truly free? As the main character, Truman Burbank, confronts these questions, the writers invite the viewer to ponder the meaning of freedom, the effects of manipulation and the steps to discovering true freedom.
Freedom can be described as the ability to choose the best possible good. In the beginning of the movie, Truman did have some freedom but it was severely limited to only what the pseudo-world inside a television studio presented to him. Of course, the producer of The Truman Show, Christof, wanted to keep up the deception and prevent Truman from knowing the truth so he manipulated Truman into doing what he had planned by offering a limited set of options. Truman could choose the best possible good from the options Christof presented him but he had no idea of all the goods that were being denied him in his reduced freedom.
Because Truman was being manipulated for most of his life, he had never experienced true freedom. For example, Christof could never allow him to leave the island of Seahaven because if he did he would discover the truth and ruin the TV show. The writers of the show tried to nip Truman’s enthusiasm for travel in the bud such as when he announced to the class that he wanted to be an explorer when he grew up. The teacher immediately told him that he was too late for everything had already been discovered. A few years later, something more drastic was called for and they decided to write Truman’s father out of The Truman Show in a boating accident. Truman witnessed his father’s supposed drowning and ever since then Truman was terrified of the ocean. This was an effective means of controlling any wanderlust Truman might have still possessed and confining him to Seahaven and limiting his choices.
Truman was pressured by the actors around him into doing things he might not have chosen otherwise. This is especially obvious with his wife Meryl. She is constantly pressuring Truman to have a baby with her even though he isn’t ready for fatherhood. She probably coerced Truman into marriage in the first place. In the real world, peer pressure can...