December 2, 2012
“Satire in 1984 and V for Vendetta”
Most nightmares are horrendous. In these delusions, the subconscious’ worst-case scenarios are discharged. Imagine a nightmare come to life. What type of government is there? There is most likely a tyrannical leader forcing upon society oppressive measures, manipulating them through authority and control. This is an example of a dystopia. Analyzing this disturbing situation helps criticize and ridicule something of reality. This is called satire, and in this case, satire of a dystopian society. George Orwell’s 1984 is about a protagonist, Winston Smith, living under a totalitarian government in Oceania. He befriends and forms an intrepid relationship with an audacious dark haired girl, named Julia. Together they rebel against “the Party,” and it’s artificial leader, Big Brother, by joining ‘Goldstein’s’ underground society (which turns out to be counterfeit by O’Brien). Both Winston and Julia get caught and tortured into unmitigated acceptance. They end up loving what they were fighting so hard to revolutionize. V for Vendetta is a film, directed by James McTeigue, adapted from the graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. The main character V, accompanied by sweetheart Evey, is successful in overthrowing a dictatorship called Norsefire, through the consent and support of the public. Both 1984 and V for Vendetta demonstrate satire by ridiculing, exaggerating and criticizing government manipulations, use of emotion and oppression towards individuality.
Governments use propaganda to manipulate people into making biased decisions. This has been ridiculed in both 1984 and V for Vendetta, by the government’s use of a specific type of propaganda, manipulation of history. Manipulation of history is omnipresent in the life of society, seen through Winston Smith’s job as a history fabricator. He is sent information deemed ‘incorrect’ by ‘the Party,’ and is made to alter this statement to be true in present, promoting the Party. An example of history being forged is when Winston had found out Julia had believed, “the Party had invented aeroplanes. (In his own schooldays, Winston remembered, in the late fifties, it was only the helicopter that the Party claimed to have invented…)” (2.5.153) The Party has fabricated this idea that they were the sole inventors and creators of the aeroplanes, although Winston knew this was fictitious. Since it was believed by the public that the Party had invented and constructed such machines, they would feel pride and appreciation for them. This connects the people and the government, creating a bond. In turn, the government becomes more powerful over the people via said society’s support. The government uses this tactic to manifest authority over minors. Furthermore, similar to 1984, V for Vendetta also exemplifies deceit in information and manipulation of the public. This is seen through the government’s control of media and information. The most compelling evidence is that of the Norsefire (the Party in rule in V for Vendetta). They had begun a national project at Larkhill and, “At first, it's believed to be a search for biological weapons and is pursued without regard to its cost. However, the true goal of this project is power; complete and total hegemonic domination...” (V is speaking to Inspector Finch). The political party had weaponized and unleashed a disease in the own public. This was done to create fear among the people. They then come in as the heroes, blaming it on religious groups. This ultimately gives them a title of ‘protector,’ and assures the public they are in good hands. Obliviously, the public accepts this, creating an enemy with religious groups and further unifying the government to its people. This ridicules the government’s authority of essentially attacking its own people for reasons of conformity and maintaining assurance of power. It signifies their deceitfulness, and willingness to destroy their own, merely for...
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