Existentialism Essay Example

Existentialism can be defined as a "20th century philosophy that is centered upon the analysis of existence and of the way humans find themselves existing in the world" (Existentialism – A Definition). Through existentialism, people are challenged to find themselves in the world. Whether that’s testing the waters when it comes to religions, social groups, sexual orientations, and maybe even career paths, it all ties back to existentialism. The Truman Show is a perfect representation of the existentialism work.

In life, it is common for one to question their purpose of being placed on planet earth. Searching for life's purpose is one of the main aspects associated with existentialism. Andrew Niccol, the screenplay writer of the Truman Show, did a commendable job making the main characters lack understanding regarding life's purpose evident throughout the movie. Truman Burbank, the main character, a reality tv star without even knowing, and an ordinary man working a 9-5 at an insurance corporation, lives a jubilant lifestyle but lacks an understanding when it comes to his purpose in life. In the movie, Truman told his wife Meryl, that he wanted to hold off on having kids so they could explore the world "That can wait, we can get away, see some of the world, explore" (The Truman Show). The antecedent quote illustrates Truman’s willingness to put his life on the backburner to seek answers when it comes to his purpose in life. Further into the movie, Truman told his best friend Marlon that he felt as if he had been surrounded by a plethora of questionable activities, "a lot of strange things have been happening" (The Truman Show). This quote takes place when Truman walks into the elevator and sees the television set. The two men at the front desk then escort Truman out the door, leading him to sense something suspicious was going on. This example portrays existentialism due to the fact that Truman was under the impression that something out of the ordinary was going on in his life, and that something was his television show he was not aware of. In closing, existentialism was shown every time Truman went out of his way to discover a purpose in life.

The second way existentialism is shown is through freedom of choice. Within our lifetime, we as humans have the luxury to make decisions for ourselves. This ties back to existentialism because branching out to find ourselves within the world is a decision made by the person in search for answers. The first way freedom of choice is demonstrated in the film is when Truman chose not to ride the ferry, attributable to him still being terrorized from losing his father at sea at a young age. The following quote happened when Truman went to get on the ferry. Before he could make it to the ferry, Truman stopped when he saw a canoe that resembled the one he lost his dad in, "you go ahead, i'll be fine" (The Truman Show). This shows how Truman let his fears overrule his decision to ride the ferry. The importance within the freedom of choice lies within the person calling the shots. They have to be okay with the decisions made considering they selected that decision for themselves. The second way the film portrays existentialism is when Truman decided to not continue on with the show. When Truman met the show creator Christof, he made it clear that continuing the show was not something Truman wanted to do, "in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night" (The Truman Show). This is a pivotal turning point in the film because this is where all of Truman's suspicions became his reality. Once Truman realized his whole life had been one big production, he knew then that in order to find himself in the world, he had to make a choice. That choice was to live out the rest of his adventurous days. It may be said, freedom of choice has a direct correlation to existentialism due to it having everything to do with findings life's purpose.

The final way existentialism is shown in the motion picture is through responsibility. Responsibility can be associated with existentialism because one who is in need of a purpose in life has to be responsible enough to make the search their main priority. Truman's entire life was one gargantuan responsibility. Without even knowing it his whole life was broadcasted to the whole world. The entire world saw Truman’s birth, first steps, first day of school, him lose his first tooth, and so much more. The camera’s even caught when he met Lauren Garnend. When Lauren and Truman first laid eyes on each other, it was like love at first sight. They met in college, and decided to go on their first official date one night on the beach, instead of studying for the upcoming finals, "we have finals tomorrow" (The Truman Show). This is essential because Truman put his studies on the back burner so that he could see if there was a future for Lauren and himself. Love is a major portion of life, and as we all know existentialism has everything to do with life. The final way existentialism was shown in the movie was when he met the show creator. When Christof, the creator, and Truman conversated Christof told Truman, "im the creator of a television show that gives hope, job, and inspiration to millions" (The Truman Show). This is significant by reason of, Truman forced being forced into a roll of such responsibility at birth without even knowing. Truman was forced to live his most "authentic lifestyle" in front of the entire world. This ties back to existentialism considering Truman spent his entire life trying to find himself. Overall, existentialism was displayed when Truman was faced with situations where he had no choice but to be responsible.

Finally, based on evidence displayed, the movie is loaded with existentialism examples. Existentialism is the human philosophy where humans find their purpose in the world. Truman exhibited existentialism by demonstrating searching for life’s purpose, freedom of choice, responsibility. All in one, The Truman Show does an admirable job displaying existentialism.


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