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V for Vendetta: Synopsis & Characters

Instructor: Joseph Altnether

Joe has taught college English courses for several years, has a Bachelor's degree in Russian Studies and a Master's degree in English literature.

Alan Moore's 'V for Vendetta' takes a bleak look at society and politics. England's fascist government eliminates everyone who doesn't conform. One man becomes a symbol of hope and works to set them free from their metaphorical cages.

''England Prevails''

The end of the world has arrived. Nuclear war has obliterated most of the world. As England struggles to survive, a fascist party, Norsefire, emerges to lead England into the future. A man referred to as Leader runs the government with his computer program Fate. Governmental agencies such as Eyes, Ears, and Nose ensure the laws are obeyed. Electronic surveillance captures every sight and sound, and those who do not obey are removed from society. The populace has become sterile and obedient.

The Leader is Adam Susan, and he rules with an iron fist. He doesn't tolerate any contrary act, no matter how slight, which disrespects his authority. He relies heavily on the computer Fate, eventually perceiving it to be the only thing that loves him. The Leader secludes himself from others and rarely engages in direct conversation with those who serve him. His only concern is order, and to maintain this type of structure, he rules by fear. This is for their own good since he believes he knows what is best for everyone. Everyone, that is, but ''V''.

Codename ''V''

Just after the nuclear strikes, Norsefire establishes resettlement camps for those whom the government considers dangerous or disruptive. These camps essentially eliminate these individuals through medical experimentation or the ovens. The person who becomes ''V'' survives his experience in one of these camps. He was housed in the medical compound, and his room number was the Roman numeral ''V''. Thus, his monicker, ''V''.

Those who were in command at Larkhill Settlement Camp when ''V'' was held prisoner there seem to be turning up dead. ''V'' leaves the Voice of Fate, Louis Prothero, in a vegetative state after kidnapping him. Louis was a commander at Larkhill. After Louis, ''V'' goes after Bishop Lilliman and Dr. Delia Surridge. Both of them also served at Larkhill. Delia was the one who injected ''V'' with an experimental hormone drug that killed all of her patients but him.

These murderous acts make it seem that ''V'' is seeking revenge for what happened at Larkhill, but he has a much larger goal in mind. He wants to take down the Norsefire government and give personal freedom back to the people of England. He wants the people to know that they do not have to live under such confinement as imposed by the government. He attacks and destroys symbols of the government, slowly eroding the government's control over the people. He is changing order into chaos. ''V'' doesn't do this on his own; he gains unexpected assistance from Evey Hammond.

Evey's Test

Evey Hammond is a sixteen-year-old girl whose parents were killed in the resettlement camps. She attempts to improve her economic situation by turning to prostitution, but on her first night out, she propositions ''a vice detail on stake-out.'' ''V'' comes to her rescue and brings her back to his home, Shadow Gallery. She unwittingly aids ''V'' in the murder of Bishop Lilliman. She tells ''V'' she doesn't want anything to do with killing, and this eventually leads to Evey leaving.

Evey meets Gordon when she attempts to steal food from his garbage. They begin to develop a romantic relationship when Gordon is killed by a fellow criminal. Evey seeks revenge, and as she aims her gun at the murderer, ''V'' abducts her and brings her unconscious form back to Shadow Gallery. When Evey awakes, she believes she is in a resettlement camp. She endures torture and solitude. One day, she finds a note in her cell, the contents of which deeply affects her.

The note tells the life story of a woman named Valerie. Valerie is in the camp because she is a lesbian, a crime according to Norsefire. In her note, Valerie mentions that while she doesn't know who is reading this note, ''I love you.'' These words awaken something within Evey. When she is asked to sign a document that incriminates ''V'', Evey refuses. This refusal should mean her death, but instead, she is freed from her captivity, both literally and figuratively. Evey learns that her imprisonment was a ruse set up by ''V'', and although she is initially furious, he explains the purpose was to set her free. Evey accomplished this when she chose the ''death of her body over the death of her principles.'' Her life is now her own.

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