Winston: A Character Doomed to Fail Failure, a concept most people are familiar of, often refers to the inability to perform a particular action or finish a certain task. In the novel 1984 by George Orwell, the protagonist Winston Smith dreams to overthrow “The Party” and live in “the place without darkness”. However, he suffered the fate of being tortured and brainwashed eventually. Many readers perceive Winston as a tragic hero who valiantly tries but fails to rebel against the “Big Brother”. However, in fact, Winston Smith’s fate was set the moment he wrote his rebellious speech on the journal. Winston is doomed to be unsuccessful due to his weak willpower, unorganized planning style, and indulgent nature. Winston is a weak and contemptible person in nature; hence his downfall is inevitable. In a research essay composed by University of Chicago students entitled, “Firm Willpower”, the authors claim that “self-control is a battle that involves strengthening willpower to withstand immediate pain or resist immediate pleasure” (Iris 1). Therefore, they state that the amount of physical pain one can stand is directly affected by an individual’s willpower. The fact that Winston cannot stand physical pain at all proves that he is a weak coward who cannot achieve anything. When the thought police finally get to Winston, his reaction is “one thing alone matter(s): to keep still, to keep still and not give them an excuse to hit you!” (Book 2, Chapter 10) Instead of thinking of a plan to escape or to rescue his lover Julia, Winston sticks to the thought of avoiding getting hit. His inner thoughts reveal that he himself is a weak and contemptible man with no physical courage at all. Moreover, Winston’s shallow and weak personality can be further exemplified when he is under torture in the Ministry of Love. Winston proclaims: “Of pain you could wish only one thing: that it should stop. Nothing in the world was so bad as physical pain. In the face of pain there were no
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