Document 387226

The Graphic Novel
• Written by Alan Moore and
illustrated by David Lloyd
• First published between 1982
and 1985 (black and white)
• Drew on many science
fiction/dystopian works such
as Orwell’s 1984
• "Remember remember the
fifth of November, the
gunpowder treason and plot. I
know of no reason why the
gunpowder treason should
ever be forgot." Guy Fawkes
Gunpowder Plot of 1605
Intertextuality in V for Vendetta
Gunpowder Plot as V's historical inspiration, contributing to his choice of timing, language and
appearance.[Rokewood, Percy and Keyes are used in the film, which are also the names of three of the
Gunpowder conspirators.
parallels to Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo - direct comparisons between V and Edmond
Dantès. (In both stories, the hero escapes an unjust and traumatic imprisonment and spends decades
preparing to take vengeance on his oppressors under a new persona.)
The film is also explicit in portraying V as the embodiment of an idea rather than an individual through V's
dialogue and by depicting him without a past, identity or face.
According to the Official Website, "V’s use of the Guy Fawkes mask and persona functions as both practical
and symbolic elements of the story. He wears the mask to hide his physical scars, and in obscuring his
identity. – he becomes the idea itself"
story and style mirrors elements from Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera - both wear masks to
hide their disfigurements, control others through the leverage of their imaginations, have tragic pasts, and
are motivated by revenge.
V and Evey’s relationship also parallels many of the romantic elements of the Phantom of the Opera
The Norsefire regime takes totalitarian imagery from many sources, fictional and non-fictional. Nazi Party,
Big Brother.
Imagery from many classic totalitarian icons - Third Reich and George Orwell's 1984. Sutler primarily
appears on large video screens and on portraits in people's homes, reminiscent of Big Brother. The slogan
"Strength through Unity. Unity through Faith" is displayed prominently across London, similar to "War is
Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength"
Valerie was sent to a detention facility for being a lesbian and then had medical experiments performed
on her, similar to Nazi Germany's treatment during the Holocaust.
The name of Adam Sutler is inspired by the name of Adolf Hitler.
Sutler’s hysterical speech is also inspired from Hitler's style of speech.
Anarchism Vs. Facism
Greek anarcos = without rulers
Political philosophy seeking abolition of ‘the state’
Seeks to diminish/abolish authority in the conduct of human relations
(anarchists differ on this)
“There is no single defining position that all anarchists hold, and those
considered anarchists at best share a certain family resemblance.” The Oxford
Companion to Philosophy
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon - first self-proclaimed anarchist, What is Property?
published in 1840. Some claim Proudhon as the founder of modern anarchist
Facism - highly xenophobic, rules the nation through both fear and force,
worships strong leadership
Several different types of state organisations which engage in power struggles
with each other yet obey the same leader (Adam J. Susan in Comic and Sutler
in film)
Symbolism in the film
V (anarchy, 5, Villain or Victim?)
How are symbols used throughout the film and
how do they convey the film-maker's message?
• Watch this interview with Alan Moore and take
• This one is for you to look at in your own time.
Provides a little more background on how the
comic came about and Thatcher’s England.
• Finch believes that it is better to rule through
strict order than let chaos reign. What political
and social commentary do you see the film
making through Finch's actions?
Is V a Villain or a Victim?
• ‘But on this most auspicious of nights, permit me then, in lieu of the
more commonplace soubriquet, to suggest the character of this
dramatis persona. Voila! In view a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast
vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This
visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the “vox populi”
now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone
vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and
virulent vermin, van guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently
vicious and voracious violation of volition.
The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive not in
vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the
vigilant and the virtuous.
Verily this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me
simply add that it’s my very good honour to meet you and you may
call me V.’
Do the ends justify the means?
• Moore stated in an interview:
• ...the central question is, is this guy right? Or is
he mad? What do you, the reader, think about
this? Which struck me as a properly anarchist
solution. I didn't want to tell people what to
think, I just wanted to tell people to think and
consider some of these admittedly extreme
little elements, which nevertheless do recur
fairly regularly throughout human history.
The rhetoric of terror
• Could the vision presented in V for Vendetta
really happen? How?
Folio Task 3
- A strong leader does what is needed
- ‘People shouldn’t be afraid of their governments;
governments should be afraid of their people.’
- Alan Moore’s vision of the future is entirely plausible and we
should be afraid
- "The most frightening aspect of technological development
is the loss of privacy and liberty for the average citizen."
You can write a speech as V, ‘The Mouth’, Chancellor Sutler or
you can write an expository or persuasive speech exploring
ideas presented in any of the texts we have looked at. You will
present this speech in class and submit a printed copy (plus
written explanation) as your third folio piece.