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  • Writer's pictureSeth Greenberg

Shawshank Redemption: Should Prison Be Rehabilitation or Punishment?

Updated: Apr 15, 2020

Shawshank Redemption is a movie with meaning... a movie with a true story. Written by Stephen King and Frank Darabont (Darabont directed the film as well), Shawshank Redemption displays its characters in a unique and ironic way. This is due to having the protagonists be literal prisoners convicted of ruthless murders. Somehow, director Frank Darabont makes the prison system seem more ruthless than the main characters in the film, Andy Dufrense (Tim Robbins) and Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman).

The film starts out with a scene portraying main character, Andy Dufrense, as a ruthless murderer who killed his wife and lover in cold blood. The scene displays countless pieces of evidence which depicts him as guilty. Although this mountain of evidence overshadows Dufrense and makes you repeatedly question his character throughout the film, you still feel this connection to him in that you want him to escape prison. This, I feel like, is solely because of the way Darabont shot the film. Darabont portrayed Dufrense as well as Redding as tranquil characters, which is ironic once again, due to the two being convicted of murder.

Another interesting aspect of Shawshank Redemption is how Darabont includes real complications in the prison system in a fictional movie. For example, Darabont highlights the problem of paroling inmates. In Shawshank Redemption, Redding is continuously up for parole and is denied time after time. Although the parole "board members" do not see a more in-depth view of Redding's calm behavior, he does strongly condemn the murder he committed as well has said he has bettered himself. After proving his statement, he is denied. This highlights the problem of prison in that it should help rehabilitate inmates and instead not act as solely punishment.

Watch Shawshank Redemption!!

-Seth Greenberg

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