This series, The Prisoner, captures the conflict in our modern technological society is a way that no other
mass distributed visual art project has ever reached. The following will best describe the level that is best to view this
The Prisoner As Allegory is a detailed analysis and commentary of each episode which traces the evolution
of the ongoing story, from the Prisoner's early attempts to escape to his eventual attempts to subvert and destroy the authority
of the Village. The series is examined as an allegory - a symbolic story depicting the modern condition - with each episode
focusing on different aspects of our society - such as education, psychology, gender relations, politics and social control.
The episodes are grouped along lines suggested by the mythological archetypes of the inner, allegorical journey
of the mythical hero. The final episodes are examined in detail in terms of political, social and spiritual interpretations.
We examine who Number 1 really is and look at the finally circular, symbolic nature of the unfolding story.
The second description adds accordingly:
Many search for symbolism and hidden meaning in The Prisoner, and volumes of interpretation and speculation
have been written in the thirty years since the series premiered. The Prisoner has even been the focus of university courses
as well as a few doctoral theses.
Did Patrick McGoohan anticipate the level of attention the series has generated? Does he still delight as
new viewers attempt to solve the puzzle? Surprisingly, McGoohan has on at least one occasion stated that he finds it "marvellous"
that people discussed the meaning of The Prisoner, but that if they did actually understand it, he would appreciate them explaining
it to him! He generally refutes notions of hidden meanings, and regarding characterizations of the series as "Kafka-esque,"
he claims he has never read any Kafka!
Reportedly, McGoohan's primary intention was to produce a fast-moving adventure series involving the loss
of freedom and dehumanization of the individual. He says that, because of the experimental, arty and "pop" nature of the 1960's,
he mixed some of those elements in as well. The remainder he credits to being dreamed up by the art director, the script editor
and the various writers.
His denials aside, there is no doubt that genius was at play here, particularly in episodes such as "Free
For All" and "Fall Out" which were scripted by McGoohan, the latter in seclusion and under complete secrecy. No matter what
one believes or what meaning one wishes to derive from The Prisoner, the series remains today one of the most original and
intriguing works ever brought to the small screen, and continues to appeal to its appreciators in a variety of ways and at
What does it all mean? Perhaps it's up to you to decide. Be seeing you.
If you have not had the good fortunate to see the series, consider taking the opportunity to seek it out.
Rahner statement: "The ability to put reality into question is what constitutes the human being", is the fundamental
message that No 6, struggles for his 'Individual' Freedom against a Village 'Community' of oppression and control. This 'Community'
is not that we seek, but what we flee. The 'Situation Ethics' of the Village, the 'Value' that failure is not tolerated and
the coercive force, or its threat from No 2, requires that the 'Individual' resist to attain his 'Human Nature'. The spiritual
aspect of this struggle, bears upon our search for understanding this 'Similarity' of our common 'Human Nature'.
The next topic that we will look at will examine if a sign in harmony with 'Nature' and a crowning achievement
of 'Civilization' may have an insight into this 'Human Nature' and our place in this 'Nature'. You will either become intrigued
or reject the entire topic.