The Farnsworth Invention

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Plays present a unique approach to story telling over typical novels. The little things, like the use of stage directions can dramatically alter the interoperation when reading a play. This gives the author a lot of power to tell a great story and have control over its interpretation. One of my favorite examples of a well written play is “The Farnsworth Invention” by Aaron Sorkin. This play is a fiction interpretation of the battle of inventing television. You have boy genius Philo Farnsworth competing against business mogul David Sarnoff. The story is a race to determine who really invented television. By straying away from historical accuracy, and by utilizing the story telling methods of a play, Sorkin tells a story with two extreme sides …show more content…
Though The Farnsworth Invention is based on historical events, the play is not historically accurate. In fact, the truth of the story is intentionally altered. According to the National Public Library, the play “shows Farnsworth as being defeated legally by Sarnoff, and then spending his life in obscurity. In realty Farnsworth won the lawsuit, later received a $1 million payment from RCA (David Sarnoff’s Company) for the purchase of his TV patents, and went on to have an illustrious career in technological research”. When asked why Sorkin deviated from the truth, he responds “There were many lawsuits, appeals and counter-suits that covered years. Farnsworth won some of them and lost some of them. The final result, certainly in the context of the play I’d written, was a loss. Farnsworth died, as Sarnoff says at the end, “drunk, broke, and in obscurity” and whether or not it was the result of corporate espionage or theft was the subject of the play.” So why would Arron Sorkin sway away from history in his story? The truth wasn’t dramatic enough. It to straight forward to have Farnsworth win easy. In other pieces of literature main character has to go through more challenge to get what they want, or in the case of The Farnsworth Invention, ultimately fail. In order to write a truly gripping and interesting story, Sorkin had to go away from the history books and write his own version of the invention of television. This allowed him the make a better overall story, because history isn't always exactly interesting. If the story were based on the truth, Sorkin would have lost the light from darkness dynamic. The audience of the story wouldn't have had such a hard time deciding which character to support, which is a strong point for the

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