The Obsolete Man


The Obsolete Man
"The Obsolete Man"
The Twilight Zone episode
TheObsoleteMan.JPG
Burgess Meredith, as Romney Wordsworth, awaiting his fate, in The Obsolete Man
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 65
Directed by Elliot Silverstein
Written by Rod Serling
Featured music Uncredited stock, almost all of it from Bernard Herrmann's score for a radio adaptation of "Brave New World"[citation needed]
Production code 173-3661
Original air date June 2, 1961
Guest stars

Burgess Meredith: Romney Wordsworth
Fritz Weaver: The Chancellor
Harold Innocent: Man in crowd

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?"
Next →
"Two"
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"The Obsolete Man" is an episode of the television series The Twilight Zone. It deals with themes of Orwellian totalitarianism, euthanasia, utilitarianism, collectivism and religion.

Contents

Synopsis

In a future totalitarian state, Romney Wordsworth (Meredith) is a man put on trial for the crime of being "obsolete". His occupation as a librarian is a crime punishable by death, as the State has eliminated literacy. He also believes in God, also punishable by death, as the State has declared that there is no God. He is prosecuted by the Chancellor (Weaver), who announces in front of the assembled court that Wordsworth, in not being an asset to the State, shall be liquidated.

After being convicted, Wordsworth is allowed to choose his method of execution. He cryptically requests that he be granted a personal assassin to whom he may privately disclose his preferred method of execution. He also requests that his execution be televised. Both requests are granted by the court.

A camera is installed in Wordsworth's study to broadcast his final hours and execution live to the nation. He summons the Chancellor, who shows up at exactly 11:16 p.m. After some discussion, Wordsworth reveals to the unsuspecting Chancellor that he has locked the door, and that his chosen method of execution is by an explosive hidden in the room that is set to go off at midnight. He intends to show the nation how a spiritual man faces death, and proceeds to read Psalm 23 and the beginning of Psalm 53, among others, from his illegal copy of the Bible. He also points out that, as the events are being broadcast live, the State will risk losing its status in the eyes of the people by trying to rescue the Chancellor. As the time draws to a close, Wordsworth's calm acceptance of death stands in sharp contrast with the Chancellor's increasing panic.

Moments before the bomb explodes, the Chancellor, in a desperate plea, finally begs the old man to let him go, "in the name of God." Wordsworth remarks that "in the name of God" he will let him out, and immediately releases the Chancellor.

The Chancellor bursts out of the room and down the stairs just as the bomb explodes and kills Wordsworth.

In the final scene, he returns to the courtroom to discover that a new Chancellor has replaced him and that he himself is now obsolete: "You have disgraced the State. You have proven yourself a coward. You have, therefore, no function." Immediately convicted, the crowd in the courtroom physically assaults him and carries him off.

In his closing narrative, Rod Serling says the Chancellor was wrong about one thing: any state capable of judging its own citizens obsolete is itself obsolete.

See also

References

  • DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1593931360
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0970331090

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Rich Man's Eight Tape — The Rich Man s Eight Track Tape The Rich Man s Eight Track Tape Album par Big Black Sortie 1987 Enregistrement 1985 1987 Durée 52:17 Genre(s) Post hardcore, noise rock …   Wikipédia en Français

  • The Rich Man's Eight Track Tape — Album par Big Black Sortie 1987 Enregistrement 1985 1987 Durée 52:17 Genre Post hardcore, noise rock …   Wikipédia en Français

  • The Man in the Bottle — The Twilight Zone episode Luther Adler and Vivi Janiss in The Man in the Bottle …   Wikipedia

  • The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street — The Twilight Zone episode Scene from The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street …   Wikipedia

  • The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank — The Twilight Zone episode Jeff Myrtlebank wakes up at his funeral …   Wikipedia

  • The Long Morrow — The Twilight Zone episode Stansfield, returning to Earth after 40 years, without the use of suspended animation …   Wikipedia

  • The New Exhibit — The Twilight Zone episode Wax museum figures in The New Exhibit Episode no …   Wikipedia

  • The Twilight Zone (radio series) — The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas is a nationally syndicated radio adaptation of the classic television series The Twilight Zone , launched in October 2002. Many of the stories are based on Rod Serling s scripts from the original Twilight Zone… …   Wikipedia

  • Obsolete (album) — Obsolete Studio album by Fear Factory Released July 28, 1998 March 23, 1999 (limited edition d …   Wikipedia

  • MAN SE — MAN Group redirects here. For the British investment company, see Man Group. MAN SE Type Societas Europaea Traded as FWB:  …   Wikipedia