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Saturday, 16 September 2017

The Prisoner In Isolation!

   He wasn’t so much in isolation, that would mean the Prisoner had been set apart from others, or to be placed alone. But the Prisoner wasn’t alone, simply placed in a place of isolation, The Village, a place isolated from the rest of the world. Patrick McGoohan had been thinking about how a man might react when placed in isolation, and eventually presented us with such a man in isolation, isolated from the environment of the outside world....the Prisoner-Number 6. He does at times attempt to reach out to the world he knows, to escape back to London, or to at least send a message, hopefully to be discovered. Personally speaking I’m of the opinion that Number 6 is never more isolated than in the episode 'A Change of Mind,' as the whole population of the Village is turned against him. The Prisoner posted as being disharmonious by the Committee. And yet it might seem that Number 6 had isolated himself from The Village, by having constructed himself a gymnasium somewhere in the woods. Whereas previously he had enjoyed the facilities of the gymnasium, shooting, fencing, his daily bout of Kosho practise, however they are one-on-one sports, whereas the high bar and punch bag can be simply for the individual. And we must not forget that Number 6 had built his private gymnasium in the woods before the advent of ‘It’s Your Funeral,’ and even then Number 6 maintained his daily Kosho practise in The Village gymnasium. By using his own gymnasium in the woods, he is merely keeping himself to himself. Because there are times when Number 6 prefers his own company to that of others, after all there are times when we all feel like that aren’t there?
   However isolation can come in many forms. In 'Many Happy Returns' Number 6 escapes The Village, returns to his own world, yet he is still a man in isolation because he has no money, and the only things he possesses are the clothes he wears. Basically Number 6 has become a vagabond, a tramp. Homeless and without friends, he no longer belongs to that situation from which he resigned, yet is desperate for both the Colonel and Thorpe to believe his story about The Village.  In 'Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling,' Number 6 is deliberately returned to the outside world, the only trouble is it's in the guise of someone else, with all unpleasant memories of the Village wiped from his mind, and regressed back to the day the Prisoner was set to hand in his letter of resignation. Again he goes back to the only people who he thinks can help him, his previous colleagues, but with the added problem of convincing Sir Charles Portland that he is who he claims to be, but only gets as far as to intrigue Sir Charles. It is his failure to prove who he is that now isolates the Prisoner from his own people. He is a man left out in the cold by both sides. He cannot even sign a cheque for fear of a charge of forgery! His appearance may have been altered, but his handwriting is the same, and in the end, and as it turns out, it is his handwriting that proves his identity!
   At the final turn of 'the Prisoner' with 'Fall Out,' in a way, that caused Patrick McGoohan to became a man in isolation. Yes he may have had his family about him, but it was the British general public who turned on McGoohan at the time. Perhaps seeing him as an Unmutual {although I doubt it} yet the meaning is there. Why? Because the British general public felt that they had been cheated by 'Fall Out.' People expected answers, but 'Fall Out' only muddied the waters even more. People didn't understand it and were outraged enough so as to complain about it! Yet would we have respected Mcgoohan more if had he explained all about 'the Prisoner?’ Should we have expected him to do so? If he had dotted all the 'i's and crossed all the 't's he would have robbed us of all the fun we've had over the decades trying to figure out what 'the Prisoner' means to each and everyone of us, on an individual level.

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