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The film “V for Vendetta” directed by James McTeigue and the story “V for Vendetta” written by Alan Moore, is about a shadowy freedom fighter known only as “V” who, along with his companion Evey Hammond, completes V’s vendetta of blowing up parliament and removing a repressive governments control on the people. In “V for Vendetta” V fights for an idea. The idea that V fights for compels him to take action and fight against a corrupt government without concern for his own safety. He does this because “ideas are bulletproof”. He may die and be stopped but the idea which he fought for cannot be silenced. What “V for Vendetta” has to teach us is that ideas are very powerful and live beyond the death of the one who envisions it. This is shown throughout the film by the use of costume, dialogue, and symbolism. The use of costume in “V for Vendetta” is clearly illustrated by the mask that V wears. V wears a mask that represents a man named Guy Fawkes.
Guy Fawkes is one of several people that attempted to blow up the parliament building in England on November 5th. They were stopped but not before their message was heard. This event later became known as Black Powder Treason. The Guy Fawkes mask allows the people to see him not as an individual but as a metaphorical creature portraying the idea of hope. This is explained at the very start of the movie with this voiceover in the background. “We are told to remember the idea not the man, because a man can fail, he can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten, but 400 years later an idea can still change the world.” The idea in this quote represents the hope that the people of London seek for freedom, to be free from the government and to live a normal life. This teaches us that no single man would be able to take down the government as represented by “because a man can fail.”
However in the case of V, he did not want to be known as a man, but to be associated to the hope and courage he gave to the people of London. He essentially lives as a messenger, a symbol of hope for the people of London. Apart from Evey, nobody knew him personally but everyone knew what he symbolized and what his motives were and why he was trying to take down the government. Even though V died just before the end of the movie, his idea will live on through the generations. Even though V wore a mask throughout the entire novel and movie he was able to convey his emotions clearly with the use of his impressive dialogue. Dialogue is important in the film as it is the only way V is able to communicate as we cannot see any of his facial expressions. His wide range of vocabulary and convincing speeches that were broadcasted nationwide win the hearts of the people of London, making them re-think their current situation and how different life would be without the government dictating everything they can and cannot do.
His quote “Words will always retain their power” illustrates to us how the media is an influential tool of social and political control. The biased media uses this to their advantage labeling V as a “psychotic terrorist” when he breaks into BTN (the television network). We can learn from this that some events that are put in the media are not the full truth of what is going on. We believe what the news presenters are saying on the television because they work for the government and the government should only report the real events from true stories. Instead BTN uses this to their advantage and edits news stories to reflect their point of view. The government uses the media to convey the message and to trick the community into thinking that life is so much better with the government in control. However during his speeches V gives the people of London hope and shows them just how much better life would be outside of the government’s control.
Through these speeches V shows us how an idea of hope and a better future for everyone rises up against the brute force of the government and is the ultimate turning point in convincing the citizens to support him over the government. Symbolism is illustrated at the end of the film when the people of London remove their Guy Fawkes masks revealing the faces of some of the characters that died throughout the film. This example shows us that even though the characters were killed throughout the course of the film because they believed in V, they had someone to look up to and the characters spirit and their belief lived on. This belief and hope of a better future is all the people of London have to hold on to during the rough times they are being put through by their government. After V is shot multiple times by Creedy’s men he ironically says, “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh, there is an idea, and ideas are bulletproof.”
As no normal man could survive being shot, this further illustrates how V is more than an idea, he is that little voice in your head telling you what to do, your conscience per say. This quote means that the flesh of a man can be killed; however an idea can never be killed and removed from society the same way. A famous document can be burned, or a famous structure such as the Old Baily can be destroyed but by no means of destruction can an idea ever burned or destroyed. V lives as a spokesperson, symbolizing and preaching his vision of a better London for everyone to live. Therefore, “V for Vendetta” teaches us that ideas are very powerful and live beyond the death of the one who envisions it.
This is proven by the costume that V wears. The mask he wears makes him more than a man; the mask makes him the embodiment of an idea and hope for the people of London. V’s use of dialogue is also important as it was the only way V was able to communicate as we cannot see any of his facial expressions. Because of this his dialogue and speeches had to convey all of his emotions. Doing so made his speeches more compelling and allowed him to tell the people of London the idea which he embodies. The use of symbolism showed us that V lives not as a character but as an idea of change and hope for the people of London.