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It is difficult to comprehend the fact that V, the main character from the graphic novel V For Vendetta is none other than a caped crusader who strongly upholds the power of justice. To think with purpose and trying to gain a deeper understanding about who V truly is, many must consider two factors going into the main character of a story which is heroism and villainism. The argument on whether or not this famous vigilante is a hero still holds true.
Although many would argue that V has committed an extraneous number of crimes that raises ethical suspicions, V is a protagonist in a certain manner. A hero is not expounded as having no flaws. V has many flaws and that’s what makes him interesting as the focal persona of this novel. It also creates room for progressing character growth throughout the entire novel. V is a hero because he displays selfless and caring qualities, humility, and courageousness.
To begin with, V demonstrates a perfect example of a hero who strongly portrays a central sense of empathy.
A hero is not defined to be purely ethical. V’s actions may have not been ethical but his motivations were. V needed to get justice for the victims at Larkhill resettlement camp, but also wanted ordinary citizens to recognize their own gullibility for propaganda and persuasion from leaders. He claims he takes action on these crimes for the “flames of freedom” and even says he enjoys his “precious anarchy.” (41/9). V’s vendetta against the leaders of this dystopian society is not a total quest for revenge.
For example, selflessly, one of the reasons V primarily sought for justice was because he was doing it for a woman named Valerie who was briefly mentioned. In short, She was a prisoner at the resettlement camp who was tortured to death. A violet carson was a tribute to Valerie and other affected victims, V “grew them” in “her memory” (176/7). Which proves V has the ability to be selfless and caring, two of the qualities that makes any hero.
Another quality that made V classifiably a hero was the fact that he had humility. V wears a mask that is utilized to cover up his identity because he doesn’t want to be recognized which is an instance of humility. Some may argue that V covered his identity either because of burns or any type of deformities. Others will say that V uses the mask as a way of not getting caught. However, both of these altercations may not be accurate. The reason why these suggestions are ruled out is because of the vaudeville incident. The vaudeville encounter was when V tortured Lewis Prothero, a leader organizing the camps, theatrically. V was torturing Prothero in ways that only had a negative impact on him specifically, he was practically “begging.” (34/8). V even told him who he was and how Prothero has made people suffer for countless years through “starvation”, “little enclosure” space, and “experiments”. (33/6-9). After all of this torture, V let Prothero live even when he found out his identity. This sufficiently shows that V could care less about being caught and cares more about seeking justice for the tremendous amounts of deterioration the people at this camp had to go through.
Furthermore, something V was clearly not lacking was bravery. V is extraordinarily courageous due to the fact that he exposed himself to the risk of being thrown back into the camp. Whenever he committed an act of terrorism he was just further increasing that risk. Nevertheless, these courageous acts were also heinous and malicious. There were some points in the book where V would become the man “that which he hates.” For example, throughout the novel Evey consistently puts her trust into V and every single time she does that he ends up leaving her. Near the beginning of part two, V is leading Evey with a blindfold into the streets of london. Evey shows signs indicating that she’s scared by expressing that what’s he’s doing “isn’t funny” and is “horrible.”(100/3). However, he doesn’t listen to her wishes and he leaves her alone in a vulnerable state.
Every hero must embark on a journey or quest that will change the course of their lives. V’s quest was to successfully overthrow the corrupt government of Britain and when he did that he still wasn’t labeled as heroic.V did not try to overthrow the government for selfish reasons. He ultimately sacrifices his own life for the benefit of everyone else by taking part in an active form of protest. It took him years to perfectly calculate the blowing up of parliament and many other acts that would be considered ludicrous. Many will diminish the idea that a character who takes action is none other than a terrorist but this is not true.V did what was needed and was branded as someone who was driven by revenge for self purposes. V exemplifies modern day heroism which means just taking action for what you strongly believe in. When you know deep in your heart that something is morally not right you are obligated to put yourself in the shoes of the ones who are suffering from injustice and take extreme action when necessary. Like the famous saying goes, actions will always speak louder than words.
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