"The Manchurian Candidate" - A Psychological Analysis

Essay by torontoboyCollege, Undergraduate April 2006

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The Manchurian Candidate was originally a novel written by Richard Condon, and then made into film in 1962. It is a story about an American soldier, Sgt. Raymond Shaw, fighting in the Korean War when his troop is ambushed by the Chinese as a result of an oriental translator convincing them to cross in a single line. Raymond Shaw and his troop are air lifted to a POW camp where they are the centre of a brainwashing program funded by Soviet and Chinese brass. Sgt. Shaw receives hypnotic suggestions to murder two of his troop members, the other men are not able to react as they are in a similar trance. They are all returned to the States with absolutely no recollection of what had took place, further more, the troop members "remember" Sgt. Shaw as a hero who had ultimately saved them while fighting in Korea. Sgt. Shaw receives a medal for his "bravery", soon realizing that his mother has organized this three ring circus as good publicity for his step father - Senator John Iselin.

Many of the troop members begin to get terrible nightmares that reveal images of what really transpired while being held captive. Major Bennett Marco's dreams are in fact so vivid that he becomes suspicious of Sgt. Shaw and decides to inform his military unit of his fears. The case is investigated and Major Marco is asked to do some less strenuous work, public relations, but is unable to perform and receives an indefinite sick leave. In his New York apartment, Raymond reads a letter from another member; Corporal Melvin about his "terrible dreams" and fears of going crazy. When the phone rings, Sgt. Shaw answers and the programming code that sets him off is triggered by a male voice: "Raymond, why don't...