The Prisoner And Religion.

Forums British Sci Fi Series The Prisoner The Prisoner And Religion.

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  • #39264
    Fatguy
    Participant

    Ok, I have delayed pulling some weeds on my patio to post this topic (will come up with other excuses not to pull the weeds later…..). What I want to know is whether Number 6 ever turned to God or prayer to help him through a tight spot. Is there a church in the village? We tend to admire the self-sufficient man in Western Society (where individualism is highly regarded); a man who only needs himself. But I do not know if Number 6 is the ideal model of individuality. If the thought of Number 6 masturbating by himself gives us a sense of intellectual elitism – then perhaps this hero is the wrong one. There should be nothing wrong with a hero showing vulnerability; whether it be in the want of female companionship – or – turning to God/prayer for help when the hero begins to “crack”. Was religion ever used by spy agencies in helping spies hold out during interrogation? I personally tried “to go it alone”; and I can tell you it is not humanly possible (and I was highly motivated…..). You can not live up to the standards of this “icon”. Without a friend to “give in to” or a belief in God – the story of The Prisoner becomes more comic book than real….. Ok…..I am on a rant here: What role, if any, did religion play in the series called “The Prisoner”; and was this an oversight or deliberate?

    Maurice

    #66816
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    The Prisoner is open to individual interpretation, and so one could find much religious allegory, as well as references in the show if one looked for them. For instance, why the inclusion of that spiritual “Them Bones” in Fall Out? Is No. 6 a messianic figure (or, as evidenced by the letters that correspond to the numbers on a phone, is No 6 really 666 — the devil?) and is No. 1 really god? Well not really, but you get the idea. But while McGoohan is a religious man, I believe that he deliberately avoided overtly showing religion in the series — but cult-like symbols are another matter. Once again in Fall Out; the white hooded robes. Anyway, this is kind of interesting…

    Warner Troyer, with the participation of a studio audience, interviewed Patrick McGoohan for TV in Toronto in 1977. To read it in full: http://www.cultv.co.uk/mcgoohan.htm

    Third Boy (a member of the audience): Mr. McGoohan, my question deals with religion … I understand, in reading a little about you, that you’re a very religious man, and my question pertains to “Fall Out.” I have interpreted a lot of the acts as being…having this content. I’m thinking specifically of the crucifixion of the two rebels, of when their arms are drawn apart, the temptation of No. 6 by the President of the Village, of the temptation of Christ…

    McGoohan: They give him the throne.

    Third Boy: “Drybones,” all of that. First of all, would you agree with my idea that that is intentional? That it is…

    McGoohan: Ah, answering: No, I had never any religious inspiration for that whatsoever. I was just trying to make it dramatically feasible. Certainly the temptation with the guy putting me up on the throne and all this stuff, ah…it’s Lucifer time. But I never thought at that moment. Maybe somewhere in the back of my mind it was there, “And the hip bone’s connected to the thigh bone” thing. I just thought it was a very good song for the situation and also was applicable to the young man because, as you know, it’s easy for us to go astray in youth and he was astray and he’s trying to get everything together again.

    Third Boy: When I speak of religion, I mean a moral attitude towards life.

    McGoohan: I would think that’s necessary, yeah.

    Third Boy: OK, then, is it fair to say that No. 6 draws upon that? Is that the source of his defense? Is that how he gets up in the morning and faces another day in the Village?

    McGoohan: I think that’s a very good comment and I think that’s probably true, yeah…moral force which says, “I have a spirit of my own, a soul of my own and it’s not all my own because it’s joined with a greater force beyond me.” I don’t think he got up every morning and analyzed it to that extent, but I think that that force is within him and anyone who is able to fight in that individual way.

    Third Boy: Would you say that there is a distinct lack in the rest of the villagers? Are they soulless beings?

    McGoohan: Ah, the majority of them have been sort of brain- washed. Their souls have been brainwashed out of them. Watching too many commercials is what happened to them.[/b]

    #66832
    Fatguy
    Participant

    Re Logan: I think I have one up on you guys as I watched The Prisoner series with the summations by Troyer and watched the interview with Patrick (live I believe). I should tell you that it was my distinct impression (from his body language and a short statement) that he was genuinely amazed at all the interpretation that went into every episode. I truly think he looked at that audience (and by association) and the T.V. audience in the same light as one looks at devote “Trekies…..” – i.e. a bit out there.

    I personally was a fan of The Prisoner and considered him a kind of hero. Now, as an “Old Fart”, I question my former admiration. Take away Number Six’s struggle – and where is he? He then has nothing….. If he had a family and many friends; “giving in” my have returned him to his life – but he is alone…..and therefore must resist to stay “alive”.

    I knew a man like the prisoner; lived alone and got drunk a lot. He would wake me up at all hours of the night from bars like the “Paradise Palms” (never forget that call). I mostly hated the guy as he was really annoying. But; I was lobbying the government at the time and he knew politics and the law (gave me the hard to get (though should be easy) copies of proposed bills, etc.) so we kept in contact. He must have pissed some people off as the cops harassed him and laid some bogus charges. But this destitute old lonely man showed me by fighting the government and winning – still can’t believe it! I later could not take this guy anymore and ended the friendship (plus the elevator to this guy’s apartment smelled like piss – what a dump).

    The prisoner is dead – took out a gun one night in his old age and blew his brains out….. Always ends this way with these types of guys. What probably scared me and annoyed me about this man (not the prisoner); was that I could see myself becoming like him….. So what are the obits of secret agents…..would be interesting to find out. I am not really religious yet my university thoughts turned to a form of theology; and while a family life may be trying – those people still seem happy with a meaningful life…..

    I guess The Prisoner may still have been unfinished business. It seems to me to be a sad story of a sad life. Without family and God – one really is a “prisoner” of one’s own mind…..

    Maurice

    #67239
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I tend to agree with your thoughts on this — he struggles because he has nothing else, and to make matters worse, it’s all in vain. A supreme paranoid introvert (with some of the typical qualities of the extrovert, makes for better TV). As evidenced by the final scene in the Lotus which is the same as the initial one we can surmise that he has gained nothing. He will always be a prisoner to himself (No. 1~No. 6) All a bit … pointless — I wonder what McGoohan was trying to say, I’m sure he scoffs at the fans (read fanatics) who try so hard to interpret everything (they did deliberately leave things open to individual interpretation) and take it all so darned seriously, but he was saying something.

    “All that is left is recognition of a man.” Isn’t that what we all want, to be recognised as individuals? But at the same time without belief in something bigger and greater than ourselves, and commitment to something, religion, family (The Prisoner was really only commited to his struggle, and his ego) that is of more permanence, and is outside ourseves we are perhaps destined to despair. In the end Llike No. 6 that battle really becomes with ourselves (call it the id and superego) whether we recognise it, or not.

    Sad about your “prisoner” acquaintance, he fought and won, but it was only a pyrrhic victory of sorts. I guess to be simplistic, what’s important is love “All you need is love.” If you can love and be loved you become less introverted, your world becomes much bigger than yourself — in a way you cease to be JUST individual, you’re part of something greater. Isn’t that special? 😛

    #67260
    nursewhen
    Participant

    Wow! This is all so deep! 😯

    Being an atheist myself, I noticed no religion whatsoever in The Prisoner (Though I take on board Logan’s comments) and I didn’t notice that anything might be missing. It’s not something I look for. Even if I had nobody to turn to, I would turn to myself. It wouldn’t occur to me that there were any alternatives.

    I felt that his life was on hold while he was in ‘the service’ and he was planning to start a real life for himself as soon as he resigned. Waking up in the village meant that he had to put it on hold again until he escaped.

    I think his real motivation was that holiday he’d planned with those white sands and palm trees.

    ‘Must escape and go on holiday. Must escape and go on holiday…’

    Would have been my chant as I lashed the planks on my raft together.

    Maybe he did gain nothing during his work and his incarceration, but I felt at the end that his life was just about to begin.

    #67262
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I felt that his life was on hold while he was in ‘the service’ and he was planning to start a real life for himself as soon as he resigned. Waking up in the village meant that he had to put it on hold again until he escaped.

    I think his real motivation was that holiday he’d planned with those white sands and palm trees.

    Eureka! I’m experiencing a sort of epiphany right now. Of course, the holiday! He was seeking to change his life; he resigned, he tried to move on, but he was caught in a sinister web. Never-the-less, if The Village really is a paranoid delusion, and I don’t know that it is (a prison of his, or one might more aptly say his alter-ego’s device) then he caught himself in it. He wanted to move on, but he could not… So sad. in this case then his Prison is indeed Purgatory (as MicroMary said in another thread, religiously speaking the Village is Purgatory).

    “We thought you would be happier as yourself” (Fall Out ~ Supervisor?) Perhaps what he needed to be truly happy was a vacation from himself. Ah, but I don’t know, so much to think about, so few brain cells ;), and when dealing with such meaty posts it’s often hard to see the Village through the trees.

    “All you need is love!” Rubbish! NurseWhen is right, what you really need is a vacation! 😀 I know I need a vacation.

    BTW, I’m agnostic, I haven’t enough faith to be sure of the non-existence of God, but I do believe that it’s important to have “faith” in something bigger than yourself, a cause, a purpose or an awareness of something that is far bigger than just ‘your’ life. “My life is my own, I, I, I, I…”

    #67278
    nursewhen
    Participant

    BTW, I’m agnostic, I haven’t enough faith to be sure of the non-existence of God, but I do believe that it’s important to have “faith” in something bigger than yourself, a cause, a purpose or an awareness of something that is far bigger than just ‘your’ life. “My life is my own, I, I, I, I…”

    I too believe in something far bigger than my own life. It’s my faith in humanity. Sometimes you just have to stop watching the news and believe that for every evil person reported, there are a milliion others just going about their everyday lives.

    You’re right, I think purgatory is a very good description of the village. Number 6 has to atone for his sins in the service before being rewarded with paradise.

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