V for Vendetta, published in 1990 by Alan Moore, isa graphic novel set in a future version of England taken over by fascism. The fascismin the book is similar in cruelty of Nazi Germany in World War II, with the dictator,Adam Susan, using all of his power to “help” the country by oppressing everyonein it, such as installing concentration camps to round up certain groups ofpeople and putting curfew times in place.
It takes for one individual, calledV, to rebel against the government for the sake of freedom/liberty, which is theability for an individual to decide their own life without authority tellingthem otherwise. V commits serious acts of terror against the fascist government,to show the fascist government the consequences of oppression. The novel, V forVendetta suggests that government cannot fully control freedom, as it is up toeach individual to decide if they wish to succumb to the government. Firstly,restricting freedom to prevent bad choices by the citizens only leads to actsof terror. When the reader gets formally introduced to the dictator, AdamSusan, Susan gives a full speech of his goals and ideals for the country ofEngland. In this speech, Adam Susan explicitly states multiple times withinthis speech that he does not believe in individual freedom, such as in thisquote: “Iwill not hear talk about freedom, I will not hear talk about individualliberty.
They are luxuries, I do not believe in luxuries…The war put the paidon luxury. The war put paid on freedom.” (Moore, 1990, 37). Here, thedictator says that freedom is just a luxury, and is expensive, implying that theexpense of freedom is the cost of bad decision making by the citizens, from AdamSusan’s point of view, leading to Adam Susan to try control his people’s freedom.
This only leaves him to be bit cold-handed, whenever someone such as V, commitsan act of terror for the sake of other people’s freedom. This happens to beironic because the dictator enforced the idea of fascism onto his country to protectcitizens from facing the costs of their supposedly bad decisions, only for deathtoll hikes and terrorism to occur due to the lack of freedom, which in itselfis a bad decision by the government. In addition, “The only freedom left to mypeople is the freedom to starve, the freedom to die, the freedom to live in aworld of chaos.
Should I allow them that freedom? I think not. I think not.” (Moore,1990, 38). This quote only bolsters the fact that Adam Susan wants toprotect the people from making bad decisions, and that restricting choices onlyencourages terror acts to occur as mentioned beforehand.
Ironically, by notallowing his citizens to live in a world of chaos, Adam Susan ends up settinghimself up for terrorist attacks by V, which is pretty chaotic. All in all,when the government tries to restrict freedom, they end up leaving theircitizens at risk from a rebel who has no restrictions. Inchapter five of the first third of the book, the main character V talks to thestatue of liberty, or Madam Justice as V calls it, and essentially talks tohimself. Within this talk, V states that he decides to follow anarchy as “She hastaught me that justice is meaningless without freedom.
She is honest, she makesno promises and breaks none.” (Moore, 1990, 41). The message this quoteis trying to convey is that politicians often make promises in their politicalcampaigns that they later not keep, often pertaining to giving their citizensmore rights, more freedom and justice.
So when they get elected, they forgetwhat they say during their political campaign and thus no progress for freedomhappens. Since anarchy means the lack of a government, this means that there isno one to lie and no one to make promises for the sake of anarchy. Lastly,the government is only able to control freedom when and individual gives itaway. This happens with Eric Finch, a recurring character within the novel,being a police officer working for the Norsefire government, often involvedwith investigating V’s terrorist attacks.
In the last third of the book, Finchdrives off to a former concentration camp in search of V and decides to intakeLSD which he found lying on the ground. After taking in the drug, he startshallucinating and then realizes how much he does not like his job, and starts questioninghis decisions. “I look at this pattern, but where are the answers? Who imprisoned mehere? Who keeps me here? Who can release me? Who’s controlling and constrainingmy life, except…me? I…I’m free.” (Moore, 1990, 215). This is when Finch startsto abandon the police force and does his work by himself, after realizing thatit was his own freedom to choose the decision of working under the government, whichironically ends up giving all his freedom away.
This signifies the moment of freedomfound when law cannot reach and constrict an individual’s actions. Next, thereis Valerie, a minor character that got placed in the torture camp for being alesbian. She wrote a biography of her life within her cell before she was killed,and wrote this quote: “…But it was my integrity that was important.
Is that so selfish? Itsells for so little, but it’s all we have left in this place.” (Moore, 1990,156). This quote in particular tells the reader about how Valerie heldonto her pride despite society’s and the government’s negative views onhomosexuality. In particular, it conveys the message that no matter how harsh someonemay be on someone’s decisions, that only the person themselves can choose howthey want to live their life.
The novel V for Vendetta states that liberty can only be acquired with alack of government in place.