A symbol, in and of itself is powerless, but with enough people behind it, blowing up a building can change the world” (V, 2006). The movie V for Vendetta is set in present day London. Although the events which take place in the movie have no historical context, they are still relatable to modern day issues regarding government. The movie presents one of the main characters Evey, as a common person who is afraid and can’t act on her own decisions, which makes the movie relatable to the audience today.
There are a lot of symbols used to portray the various themes of the movie.
Specifically, the portrayal of democracy is achieved through symbols such as the constant appearance of “v”, Norsefire which is the group controlling the government, the roses, Evey and her role in the final event and V himself. The letter “v” which also is the Roman numeral 5, is constantly brought on to the movie along with the number five.
In the very first scenes of the movie, V gives a monologue which is packed with words that all start with the letter “v”. His speech describes his ideas and plans to take down the government which is now corrupt and controls every aspect of the people’s lives.
November the 5th, which is overly emphasized in the movie, represents V’s struggle for democracy. November 5th is a holiday for Guy Fawkes, who died in his attempt to overthrow corrupt government. This idea of striving for democracy, by tying V’s actions into Guy Fawkes’ ideas, is represented throughout the movie by the constant use of the number 5 and “v”.
Beethoven’s Fifth symphony, the V on his cell at Larkhill, the overuse of “November the 5th”, and V’s identification of himself as just “V”, all symbolize V’s ideas and actions of overthrowing the totalitarian government.
Norsefire is the group who controls the government in the movie. How Norsefire came into power is later shown in the movie, which is one of the main reasons for V’s vengeance. The Norsefire emblem is the Cross of Lorraine, which is a symbol for patriotism. The red cross symbolizes the government’s tyranny and bloodshed. Norsefire is shown as being against things such as art, music, and homosexuality; things that encourage free thinking. The idea of totalitarian government is also seen through the “fingermen” who enforce curfews and the media control through “The Voice of London”.
All of these things symbolize tyranny and the people’s fear of acting out against it. Because these symbols emphasize the totalitarian government, they contrast the ideas of democracy in return, making it more evident in the movie. An important and emphasized symbol in the movie is the constant use of roses. Roses are a universal symbol for love and beauty. Most important to the context of the movie is the rose as a symbol of social democracy. V gives a rose to every person he kills, the people who all had a part in corrupting the government, as well as killing thousands of innocent people.
This symbolizes V’s attempt at trying to achieve justice for the people. In the movie, the government controls everything and restricts the expression of different ideas by the people. Since the rose is a symbol of social democracy, its use in the movie could be for representing the ideals of democracy. The roses are also a way of V justifying his murderous actions and showing that he has a higher sense of purpose than just creating terror. All of these symbols combined leads to the rand theme/symbol of the movie.
V himself is a symbol of the ideas of democracy. In his last fighting scene V says, “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof. ” V himself is a representation of the ideas of democracy and justice. Even though V dies, the idea which he came to identify himself with lives on with Evey and the rest of the people as Evey says, “He was Edmond Dantes, and he was my father, and my mother, my brother, my friend. He was you and me. He was all of us. ”
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