Shawshank Redemption: The moral of escape from cinematic point of view

Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free. When one hopes, whether for something big or small, it is the gravity of hope that must be perceived for its grandness. At times in life, chances of hope abates, and when reality stays in distance from goal, the supreme force of desire in man grows.  Fear in man absorbs hope within its disabling clouds. In nature itself, and especially in the contemporary society that we breathe in, our lives are colonized by fear.

Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) in The Shawshank Redemption (1994) crawls to freedom through five hundred yards of smelling foulness. Five hundred yards, this is the length of five football fields, just shy of half a mile. Understanding the character, we begin to comprehend that Andy is the presentment of hope, and Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding (Morgan Freeman) is the opposite, who presents fear. Our days in life often gets dull and at times twisted, for fear is a dreadful thing, which wraps us. The society we live in today is a putrid atmosphere, in which due to the competitive way of living and even education fear gets produced and to all of us it turns into an redundant onus. Red is Andy’s best friend, who is convicted of a murder and he is serving a life sentence. We can forget about the Shawshank prison for a while, and set the society as an example, where lives a man with hope, and a man with fear. Some like ‘Red’ forget that hope is in us and the only reason at times of sorrow, and in silent cold nights alone one cannot realize the presence of hope, for fear in its hand with a lamp is circling.

Andy escapes. Escaping was in his vision; it was a goal that he set for himself to achieve, for the life in prison for him is not a fair treat. Andy did not kill his wife and her lover that night; Andy’s presence in the prison benefits ‘Red’ though, who’s been living his life not only in fear, but with regret as well due to a wrongful deed.  He’s learnt his lesson, yet still doesn’t flinch by unjust acts in the prison towards him. ‘Red’ fears the freedom, and believes that hope doesn’t exist. In life, we sometimes feel like ‘Red’ and at times, we feel like Andy. I believe we must like Andy try hard to achieve what we want to achieve. The tunnel that he crawls through defines the hardships of life, and as he crawls out of the tunnel in the rain, he takes his shirt off and kneels down with his hands raised toward the sky in victory. Andy knew that freedom was waiting for him and what convinced him is hope. The story here embraces dreams, hope, friendship and hardship.

When ‘Red’ opens the envelope and takes out the letter written by Andy, the letter begins with ‘Dear Red. If you are reading this, you’ve gotten out. And, if you have come this far, maybe you’re willing to come a little further.” And toward the end the letter reads, “Remember, Red. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” Tears start spilling silently down Red’s cheeks. He realizes that hope in him is alive and also comprehends the beauty of freedom and friendship.  The film stands for understanding hope, and its involvement in man and how the film helps shed light on the importance and relevance of hope. The film goes in depth behind the notional meaning of hope and its elements articulately.

I find I am so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it is the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain… I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope. – Red

I have seen the film many times. I have lost the count, but each time I see the film, it educates me and inspires me in many ways. It is a film that breaks the rules in a way; in every subplot, Mr. Frank Darabont has consecrated himself as a film-maker and screenwriter with much care and respect. Today, we live in a world that’s in the verge of technological breakthrough.  Humans are unique among the animals, no matter how much hardship we face in society, the presence of humanity is essential. The society or life itself like the Shawshank Prison can challenge us in many ways, but like Andy, we should keep the humanity in us alive, and most importantly the hope.  In light of problems, friendship comes to sight as a third and perhaps highest summit of the moral life, on which happiness and merit may finally be united.  It is Andy’s friendship with ‘Red’ that defines how essential it is for us humans to comprehend the moral of it. That is why, Red keeps his promise that he made to his best friend Andy. So, he journeys a little further and finds his friend in the beach. Hope, friendship, and freedom are what we live for. Outside of us lies a world full of achievements, people, friends, love, and goals. The only way to crawl out of the darkness into the real world to achieve the goodness and embrace the freedom is through hope, for hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies.