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Friday 11 July 2014
It has been supposed that the episode ‘Many Happy Returns’ concerns itself with demonstrating that no matter where Number Six goes, he can never evade the long reach of The Village. Meaning that there is nowhere he can go, where he cannot be found, retrieved from, and returned to The Village.
Well that's as maybe. Yet I now feel there is much more to this episode of the Prisoner's incarceration than that. ‘Many Happy Returns’ gives a false freedom to the Prisoner. His is the torture of escape only to be recaptured and returned to the confines of The Village, to continue his incarceration, after being given a glimpse of his world, to move in it as he had once done. But to find someone living in his home, owning the car he built with his own hands. Then to have that world suddenly snatched away from him again. ‘The Prisoner’ is a vicious circle, because the Prisoner ends where he began, on a deserted run-way. The same can be said of ‘Many Happy Returns,’ because the Prisoner-Number 6, ends up back where he began…in The Village!
For his captors, there is the pleasure of control, the manipulation of the Prisoner, in watching him build his sea-going raft, to gather his provisions, and finally to escape The Village must surely have been most amusing, knowing that he could be returned to The Village at their will. And don't forget the smashing of the cup and saucer on the table. That was a torture in itself, in making the Prisoner suddenly think that he had gone to so much trouble, effort, and hard work, but now the game was up. But at the same time giving the Prisoner renewed hope, in that the game was far from up, and that he had a chance of escape.
The pleasure for the captors of the Prisoner was in the control they exerted over him, but also in the hunt, and recapture of the Prisoner, and thereby returning him to The Village, so that they could continue with their manipulation of the Prisoner, in other and more fascinating ways.
This I learned from the Marquis De Sade.
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