The Individual Against Society
"You are a member of the village.
You are a unit of society." - No.2 to No.6 Once Upon A Time
"No!" the Prisoner shouts in response.
Well isn't that what No.6 is, what he stands for, an individual against society? No.2 of ‘The Chimes of Big Ben’ sees No.6 as being a model, but who doesn't run on clockwork as No.6 is quick to inform him. No.2 of ‘Dance of the Dead’ sees individuals as trying, but that they must not spoil him!
If the village is a complete unit of our own society, then No.6's revolt against and un-acceptance of the Village is that of our own society. No.6 refuses to conform to the ways of the Village and apparently society, which demands conformity of its citizens. If No.6 is the ultimate individual, then in turn the Village must be the ultimate society, but society must live, so too must the individual. If No.6 were to rid the world of the society he is supposed to be rebelling against, what then? Perhaps No.6 has a better system of society to replace that which he seems so willing to destroy, somehow I rather doubt it. And after destroying the society he struggles against so much and with so much vigour, would not he himself cease to exist? During the ‘Dance of the Dead’ No.6 is put on trial for breaching the Rules, rules without which society would be reduced to anarchy, the idea of which seems to appeal to the Prisoner "Here here" he responds.
There are those who see No.6 as a hero, a role model, an individual against society and the system, someone to emulate. But is there not a danger with putting No.6 on a pedestal, to see him as a "superman", a man who, as the President during Fall Out puts it "A man magnificently equipped to lead us". But they fail to get the message, No.6 makes his final rejection, the offer of ultimate power and so the struggle goes on. Because a true rebel cannot ever accept or settle for anything. His rebellion must go on eternally.
Whilst on the other side of the coin there are those who see No.6 as being nothing more than an agitator, "A trouble maker" as No.14 of ‘Hammer Into Anvil’ once described him. Someone who is always poking his nose in where it does not belong, stopping this, causing that. Himself sometimes deciding what is good for the citizens of the community and what is not, a dictator in fact!
But the Prisoner was never a rebel against society, only against the Village in which he had been confined. Well who would not rebel given his situation? But he never rebelled against the society in which he lived, he accepted. He had a high level, secret and confidential job, he had a fine Georgian house, and was engaged to Janet Portland, daughter of Sir Charles Portland in ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling.’ All the Prisoner did was to resign from his job, "If people cannot give up a job things have come to a pretty pass" as No.2 once put it. But then it all depends on the kind of job in the first place as we have witnessed with the Prisoner. And that is all the Prisoner did, resign, no rebellion against society outside of the Village. The Prisoner was part of society, he accepted it, was settled, only in the kind of work he did, perhaps the Prisoner finally became unsettled in the kind of work he was doing. And the matter of his resignation could be as simple as he could no longer stand his job!
Be seeing you