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A life time fan and Prisonerologist of the 1960's series 'the Prisoner', a leading authority on the subject, a short story writer, and now Prisoner novelist.
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Saturday, 17 September 2016
Why was the Prisoner brought to The Village, why is any prisoner taken to The Village? Because they want information, and that is the main purpose for The Village, the extraction or protection of information! In Number 6’s case they know everything about him anyway, we’ve seen the file they have on him. But one thing is missing from that file, the reason behind his resignation, extract that from Number 6 and his file can be completed, then no doubt to be stored away in one of those grey filing cabinets seen in the opening sequence. You’ll recall how a card with Number 6’s picture upon it was filed under RESIGNED. Who then has access to the information filed away is anyone’s guess. But as they say, information is power. But then what about Number 6? If the reason for his resignation had been extracted, what would have happened to him then? In all probability he would have been of no further value, if they couldn’t turn him like they did with Cobb, and would have been left to live out his days in quiet solitude in The Village. As it is I should think that most days not giving up the reason behind his resignation gave him purpose, when he wasn’t trying to escape, either poking his nose in where it wasn’t welcome, or countering the machinations of Number 2. But think about it for a moment, if it had been Roland Walter Dutton we the viewer had been following in ‘the Prisoner, there would have been no future in the series after the doctor had conducted his final experiment on Dutton. There was no value in Dutton being the main character. Number 6 had to be a man of a very different calibre. And for the most part ‘the Prisoner’ is about Number 6, with the other citizens merely players who have their exits and their entrances, and once their part is played are never seen again. Except for the lucky few who lurk in the background, who on occasion, if only fleetingly, return to the fore, because no-one is as important as Number 6. And yet had Number 6 told the reason why he resigned, apart from it being a matter of conscience, just how important might he had been to them after that?
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Was the REASON that he resigned the information that they really wanted?
I would think that if they were watching him as much as they indicated that they did, that they SHOULD have had an idea as to what happened to cause The Prisoner to WANT to resign. After all, he told them that his loyalties had NOT changed.
So if we believe that he was NOT being disloyal, then what other reasons remain?
He had knowledge of something that went against his morals to such an extent that he couldn't work for them any more?
He was just tired of whatever he had been doing and wanted to quit?
If he was under surveillance as much as his captors said he was, then they should have known as much about his missions, assignments or whatever, as he did. So the ONLY thing that they couldn't have known was the INTERNAL and UNSEEN emotional thought processes.
They already knew that he couldn't be bought off, even though they made a half hearted try in Arrival.
Did they think that they could get him to change his mind? Why was HE such a valuable person compared to all of the others?
In retrospect we can see that since HE is Number 1 as well as Number 6, he didn't want to damage himself!
Perhaps he himself didn't know why he resigned!
I like to think that ZM73 resigned because he became fed up and possibly disillusioned with the kind of work he did. But perhaps symbolically, it’s not ZM73 we see resigning from his job, but Patrick McGoohan resigning from his role of ‘Danger Man’ John Drake!
Of course depending on how close they had ZM73 under surveillance, they could have watched him writing his letter of resignation, but if he didn’t write down the reason in that letter, and he was by no means obliged to, they wouldn’t know what he was thinking, or why he resigned.
I think they only wanted to know why the Prisoner resigned because it was one detail missing from his personal file. However if they managed to get Number 6 to tell them that, then perhaps all the other information might quickly follow. As Number 2 said “If he will answer one simple question, all the rest will follow. Why did he resign?”
One would expect that Number 1 would have already known why his other self, Number 6 had resigned. But perhaps it was Number 1 who resigned, and because of that Number 6 was kept a prisoner, because that self didn’t want to resign, and so remained loyal. Remember Number 6’s anguish pattern, in ‘A B and C’ Number 6 reliving the moment he handed in his letter of resignation, or rather his other self the Number 1. On the other hand, if it was the Number 6 self who resigned, perhaps he was keeping that from his other self, the reason why he could not admit to himself, and for that reason Number 1 had Number 6 put in The Village in an attempt to extract the reason why Number 6 resigned, because Number 6 had managed to keep that from his other self the Number 1!
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Hi David ,ReplyDelete
Brilliant ! These are just some of ideas that The Prisoner can bring out...if you take the time to really get "into" the characters in The Prisoner .
I find it interesting that one day I will watch an episode and think one thing . ..but in watching the same episode again , I am drawn to a new conclusion !
I think that's one of the many things about The Prisoner that have kept many of us interested in the show even after 50 years .
I love to hear what others think about the different episodes . ..as it gives me a new "eye" to "see" the Prisoner through .
Best Regards ,
I’m happy you like the piece. If one does take time to look below the surface one can discover all kinds of new things about the characters.
And that’s quite right, you watch one episode and you have a certain way of looking at it. Watch it again some time later, and your perspective can alter, and so draw a different conclusion as you say. I used to think what a good job Number 6 did to bring down Number 2 in ‘Hammer Into Anvil.’ But now I cannot help but feel sorry for Number 2. Oh I know he threatened Number 73 in that hospital room, but he never really did her any harm. She only jumped through the window when Number 6 came bursting into the room. Its like Number 2 of ‘A B And C’ and ‘The General,’ I feel sorry for him as well. Oh I know Number 2 represents authority, and stands for The Village etcetera, but Number 6 isn’t so perfect! Well he gives the impression of being perfect, and there are times I find him difficult to believe in, no-one should be as perfect as Number 6 appears to be. Sometimes he’s too good to be true!
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Hi David ,ReplyDelete
I have also observed in The Prisoner that the consideration of the individual vs. society in The Prisoner .
If we were all concerned only about ourselves and our wants...then I believe that our world would be a very different place . ..and NOT a good one.
Best Regards ,
Yes indeed, within ‘the Prisoner’ there is the question of the individual against society. Society is made up of individuals, however the individual can find it difficult to survive without society, and without individuals there is no society.
Quite right, as individuals we are mainly concerned with ourselves and our wants. And yet individuals do come together in order to care for, and help, other individuals to try and make the world a better place. And yet I can think of a number of individuals on the world stage who are dangerous, some extremely dangerous!
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