I have often thought that at times ‘the Prisoner’ is something of a tragic play. It may be an ordeal for No.6, yet there are those who do not come off so lightly.
No.9 for example, according to her she has been used by everyone from the helicopter pilot to No.6! However I suppose that would all depend on how much of her story you believe, as she was first assigned to Cobb, and then to No.6. Certainly No.9 is a pawn used in No.2’s game, and apparently by any No.2 who happens to come along. There is a real-life tragedy here, because the actress Virginia Maskell who played No.9 is rumoured to have committed suicide in January 1968. She died from an overdose of barbiturates combined with the effects of hypothermia. She was found in a wood suffering from the effects of both these conditions, where she apparently died 10 hours later. She had been in hospital for six weeks suffering from a nervous breakdown.
Number 2 cuts a very tragic figure by the end of ‘A B and C’. He was over confident, he underestimated No.6 which allowed No.6 to turn the tables on him, revealing to be “C”. This leaves No.2 a broken man. There is a headline of The Tally Ho which asks the question “Is No.2 Fit for Further Term?” which refers not to his ability, but to the question of his health. The fact that the man suffers from a stomach ulcer. But surely his failure is not all of his doing, the doctor No.14 must bear some of the blame. But sadly it’s No.2 who must pay for the failure. What’s more, things can only get much worse for this particular No.2!
This is Madam Professor, her husband she described as a teacher, he teaches. And she is the artist who organised art seminars in the Village, although her presence there was chiefly to see to it her husband kept working for the Village during the experiment of Speedlearn. She would talk her husband into doing anything to keep him alive. And of course there was the threat to her, if the Professor did not keep up the work of his lectures! But in the end the tragedy here is, that due to the death of her husband she has been left a widow and alone, to live out the rest of her life in the Village! Perhaps her only sustenance in her grief, might be to carry on with her art seminars.
Roland Walter Dutton as the Court Jester cuts a real tragic figure. The Doctor-No.40 was attempting to gain all the information Dutton knew via medical experimentation. But due to Dutton’s reluctance to go further in giving any more information away, the doctor went too far with his experiments leaving Roland Walter Dutton a brainwashed imbecile! The tragedy being that Dutton didn’t have access to the vital information, but it would seem that in his enthusiasm for medical experimentation, the doctor had chosen not to believe him.
‘Hammer Into Anvil’ is a double tragedy. No.73 was brought to the Village because they could not find her husband. The idea being to make 73 tell No.2 where her husband is, so that they could abduct him to the Village. But life in the Village did not suit 73, as once she attempted to commit suicide by slashing her wrists, and finally driven to commit that act by No.2, thus jumping to her death through a hospital window. No.2 is a weak link in the chain of command waiting to be broken. And yet judging by this telephone conversation
"Number 2..... Yes sir. Yes sir..... yes sir everything's under control..... No sir. No problems....Assistance?.... No, no sir, I can manage........ Yes sir of course....be seeing you.” Although we only hear one side of the conversation, it’s obvious that No.1 has concerns about this No.2’s ability. So why not intervene further? Perhaps No.1 saw the weakness in No.2, and thought it a fair test for No.6 to break the man!
Be seeing you