In the series "The prisoner" season 1 ep 1 (I only saw it for now), the protagonist, number '6', receives his cards to access services on the island. The scene is the following:

At this point you can see three of his cards in a folder, forming '666'

Is that a reference to some aspect of the plot? Does it repeat along the series?

A central element of the plot seems to be the island authorities trying to figure why number 6 quit his (apparently excellent) job, an act which apparently doesn't fit his profile.

In Iron Maiden's song "The prisoner", inspired in the series, which is part of the album "The number of the beast", there are references to doing what one pleases(as an animal or 'natures beast' does):

"Going all the way, I'm nature's beast. Do what I want, I do as I please."

"Don't care where the past was, I know where I'm going..."

This last one seems to suggest the lyrical subject regrets a decision in the past, since he had to state he doesn't care what happened but appears be saying he doesn't want 'guidance'(maybe 'forced guidance') because 'he (now) knows where he is going'.

User Draakhond (thanks) reminded of the following:

Bible - Revelation 13: 16-18

It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man.[e] That number is 666

Among the cards were his identity card, his health care card and his credit card.

Here, apparently 'the beast' has a different meaning from that alluded by Iron Maiden's song (even though Iron Maiden's Album itself evokes the biblical context). The beast is the powerful apocalyptic entity who attempted against god and his saints, apparently "conquered" the world and required people to comply with its rules in order to be allowed to participate in the economy. The beast here seems to be "that which constraints" rather than "that which is constrained".

I don't know what the book of Revelation really means, so any insights here are also appreciated.

  • I'm not sure Iron Maiden's song will help explain the plot here. A song can say anything just for sake of rhythm.
    – Luciano
    Jun 10, 2020 at 7:51
  • 1
    Did you Google '666 number of the beast'? I am not familiar with 'The Prisoner' but I am quite sure it will point you in the right direction.
    – Draakhond
    Jun 10, 2020 at 9:13
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    @Luciano Yet it is a song directly based on the very TV-show, possibly cutting down on themes Iron Maiden saw in it that might have eluded others.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jun 10, 2020 at 10:03
  • @Draakhond I forgot the information in revelation that "so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark*. Thanks! Does your suggestion include anything more I'm forgetting?
    – galmeida
    Jun 10, 2020 at 16:34
  • You've found exactly what I hinted at. That is all I can contribute. I did not watch 'The Prisoner' so unfortunately I cannot tell you how these things are connected.
    – Draakhond
    Jun 10, 2020 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


There are a huge number of allusions to other works and myths within The Prisoner. That is part of the allegory.

Number 6 constantly rebels against being called by a number, hence the litany of the opening titles of every episode. (Except in the episode "The Schizoid Man").
Giving him numbered cards is the first attempt at breaking his will - the whole premise of the series.
The presence of three numbers is an example of the rule of three, or three times a charm. And of course, three sixes make 666, the number of the beast which implies, in the first episode, that The Prisoner has entered a form of hell.

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