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Saturday 25 May 2013

Prismatic Reflection

       Here I am faced with a blank page once more. It’s not easy finding new things to write about ‘the Prisoner.’ Everything I could think of seemed to have been written to death over the years and decades. And yet what is seen to be considered “old hat” by life time fans, will be new and exciting to people who have only just discovered ‘the Prisoner,’ or are relatively new to the series.
    And so you think you know ‘the Prisoner’ inside out. You’ve arrived at an understanding of the series which may not suit everyone, but which suits you. Well to be perfectly honest that’s just the way I felt, until I began to discuss ‘the Prisoner’ with people like Jana Muller, who herself is relatively new to the series. Jana has proved to me that seeing ‘the Prisoner’ through fresh eyes, one can arrive at completely new ideas. I recall discussing the Prisoner as being Everyman, and the butler as representing the “little man” in society. And yet “Everyman” can include the butler. Both Everyman and the “little man” act very differently from one another. How strange it is that Everyman and the “little man” took to each other as they did in ‘Fall Out.’ No.6 accepts the butler without question, whilst the butler, seeing which side his bread is buttered, simply changes his allegiance. There appears to be an unspoken mutuality between them.
    The idea was put to me that had Rover MK1 survived, that the driver could have been the butler, being small enough to fit inside the dome of that ungainly vehicle. More, “it is suggested of Everyman, that everyone is Number 1, and the driving force behind Rover, it might indeed be the little man.”
   And what about No.1 and No.6 being one and the same person. The following was put to me. That
No.1 and No.6, being the same person, nothing would happen if No.6 and No.1 changed places had No.6 accepted the offer of ultimate power. Everything in the Village would have stayed the same!  It has been suggested that No.1 and No.6 are one and the same person, or rather the two alter egos of the same person. The one is dedicated to the Village and wants to suppress people, while 6 wants the people to be free. It could be said that No.6 is the conscience of the Village, a conscience which tempers the actions of No.1.
    As to the question of No.1 and No.6 to be able to leave the Village, might not both of them have to be defeated at one and the same time, seeing as one is the alter ego of the other? If No. 6 and No.1 are the same person, then the struggle between No.6 and No.1 is a fight between two aspects of one person. A struggle against themselves, but one of them has to be defeated. On the other hand this thought, that Number 1 and Number 6 would have to be defeated in order to be able to leave the Village. This means Number 6 was defeated, in the end, otherwise he would not have been able to leave the Village. And maybe he was, seeing him returning to the beginning.... But somehow I don't think that Number 6 was really defeated, although he remained prisoner, because for me this would mean that he had accepted imprisonment, or ultimate power, but he refused both, till the end, at all costs.
   As for the Butler, well, he escaped and he might as well have been just like Number 6. If he really is meant to represent the little man, why not? If Everyman is No.1 does that not include the butler as well? But that's a very allegorical interpretation. I wouldn't take the door opening electronically and automatically as doors do in the Village, in itself as a clue that the Butler is No.1. The house in Buckingham Place has always been number one, and nothing to do with No.1 in the Village. However the scene shows that the Prisoner had not left the Village at all, that he didn't escape. For the Butler this could also mean that he just entered his new prison cell.
   It is thanks to Jana Muller for being the inspiration behind this article. And I do not lay claim to some of the ideas and interpretations it contains, but such are the thoughts, ideas, interpretations, and theories which can be brought to the discussion table by new fans of ‘the Prisoner’ series. Indeed I enjoy discussing ‘the Prisoner’ with a wide range of aficionados of the series.    

Be seeing you.

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