Free Essay

1984

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By cbanks92
Words 1305
Pages 6
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Michael Radford’s, Nineteen Eighty-Four shows a society that, after and atomic war has evolved into a totalitarian society with “Big Brother” as the leader. The movie starts off by showing people all dressed in the same attire watching a movie that is put on by Big Brother. This is meant to show the total subordination of the individuals to their leaders. In the scene all of the individuals listen to Big Brother and by saluting and chanting they show how they have submitted themselves to total control by the higher ups. This can be equated to Plato’s vision in The Republic that people fall into one of three classes. He felt that people were Philosopher-Kings, Workers, or Guardians. This movie is a perfect depiction of what Plato’s vision could have looked like.
Plato felt that one was put into a social group by their own development of their rational intellects. Basically it was developed around ones wisdom. The wisest would be the philosopher-Kings, then workers, then guardians. Education would play a major role in deciding who would be in what class. Obviously the most educated would be most likely to be at the top of the social hierarchy. Plato makes it seem that a person cannot really develop abilities later on in life that weren’t apparent in the beginning. He believes that a person can move freely within their own class in society but they cannot really move up to another class. The only way to move up would be if one were educated and had the possibility of becoming a Philosopher-King. If a person did develop abilities as they grew older in Plato’s society, this would cause mass unrest. This person being able to move from one class to another would make others wonder if it were possible for themselves. This would eventually throw his ideal society into chaos. If someone went against what you were told all of your life and they succeeded, one might start to doubt the authority and power of the leaders. This is what “Big Brother” was trying to suppress with Winston Smith. He committed the crime of falling in love with Julia and Big Brother didn’t want others to see that it was possible so they suppressed this idea by ousting Winston and Julia from society, and portraying them as bad people who went against the rule of Big Brother.
Nineteen Eighty-Four does not promote a sense of individualism. What the leaders want is for everyone to be similar in the ways they live, work, speak, and conduct themselves. By having “Big Brother” always watching this idea was made possible. Plato also shared this idea in the Republic. “He {Plato} felt that ordinary citizens were too easily swayed by appeals to irrational emotions and illogical arguments. He had witnessed firsthand the destructive power of an irrational group of citizens when they condemned his mentor and friend Socrates to death” (Chaffee pg 507). In order for this perfect society to run smoothly, the individual must not be able to make his own assumptions and views. By having a system in place like “Big Brother” this system could run smoothly.
In the movie home life is related very closely to work life. There is not much freedom and one must always have the best interest of the society in mind. The rules that are set outside of work are very similar to those set in the workplace. There is not much that a person can do that is not being monitored by someone. This is just like in the workplace, a boss or manager is in place to watch over their employees to make sure things are being accomplished and that no rules are broken. The movie depicts an extreme version of being watched over, by having cameras and Televisions everywhere, as well as the “thought police” that monitor people who are capable of the mere thought of challenging authority. It effectively shows the tight relationship between the individual and society. The individual is very closely related to the good of society. Every minute of their lives is dedicated to the betterment of the society as a whole. “Justice exists in the state and the individual when all the elements perform their distinctive function and work together as a smoothly articulated and balanced whole. In contrast, injustice occurs when the parts of the state or the individual fail to perform the functions for which they were designated, or they fail to work with the other members in a harmonious way.” (Plato in Chaffee Pg 508) Plato’s ideal society follows a similar ideal of the movie’s. If one person doesn’t do their individual job then the society as a whole will be hurt. So in some ways it could be said that in the movie there was a sense of individualism due to that fact that every individual person was required to do their own respective job, but as far as self expression, there was no individualism.
The sense of challenging power I found in the film was the journal that Winston kept in a secret compartment in the wall, defying O’Brien when he was attempting to brainwash Winston, and Julia and Winston's relationship. He kept this to collect his own thoughts and think for himself not only what Big Brother wanted. If they had found this he surely would have been imprisoned. A major way that he showed challenging authority was by not giving into O’Brien when he was brainwashing him. An example would be the question Winston always thought about, 2+2=4. Winston knew this to be true but Big Brother wanted everyone to believe 2+2= 5. So when O’Brien asked Winston what 2+2 equaled, he defiantly said 4 until O’Brien eventually tortured Winston enough to make him say that it equaled 5. O’Brien also did this with the number of fingers that he held up. But the most major way he challenged authority was by having a relationship with Julia. In this society it was frowned upon to have a relationship. Big Brother always mentioned how the number of marriages kept decreasing by tremendous numbers over the years.
The people in Nineteen Eighty-Four go along with the rules because they feel that they have to fit in and follow the structure of the system. This would go right along with Aristotle’s ideals in Politics. “Humans are naturally social creatures- Political Animals- in the same way that many other species instinctively form herds or packs.” (Chaffee on Aristotle pg 513) Aristotle believed that people can only achieve their highest potential being by interacting socially. He believed that “Any individual who can exist independently of human community must either be a beast or a god” (Aristotle in Chaffee pg 512). An individual cannot operate separate from a society, therefore like in the movie people will instinctually try to fit in and follow a society in order to have a sense of belonging and companionship.
Nineteen Eighty-Four goes along with both the ideas of Plato and Aristotle in respect to their Social and Political philosophy. In Plato’s case, Winston smith fits into the working class of his perfect society. It shows how a person who tries to go against the beliefs of the leaders/ Philosopher-Kings would be treated in Plato’s society. As far as Aristotle, his idea that people inherently need others in order to function as an individual is show through how Winston has a relationship with Julia, and the fact that everyone follows the rules of Big Brother due to fear of what could happen to society if they did not. Although it may seem that this type of society is unattainable and undesirable, the movie depicts how Plato’s perfect society would play out.…...

Similar Documents

Free Essay

1984

...Seemingly, omniscient leaders run the societies in both texts; in 1984, he is known as “Big Brother” and in Equilibrium, he is known as “Father”. Both figureheads use fear, indoctrination and punishment to sustain their power of everyone and everything. Winston said “...one thing alone mattered: to keep still, to keep still and not give them an excuse to hit you”. Winston conforms out of fear of punishment. “Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime IS death.” In both texts the power of the institution is sustained by demanding no free will and no individual thought or emotion. In Equilibrium the things that trigger emotion (such as literature, music and art) are outlawed. This is witnessed in the opening of the film where John orders the burning of Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”. This emotive painting symbolises rebellion against “Father”. Father and Big Brother’s laws are administered by enforcers. In 1984 they are known as the Party, and in Equilibrium they are the Tetragrammaton Council. These enforcers seek out any rebellion against their leaders and make sure that those that digress are severely punished publically through torture, reconversion and/or death. In Equilibrium, Preston’s partner Brandt said, “You heard Father’s orders, they are either to be shot on site or incinerated without trial”. Such public displays of power through punishment makes the people afraid of rebellion and life outside of the society, outside the rules. They sustain their hold......

Words: 600 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

1984

...”Nineteen Eighty-Four” – Pages 1-40 If there is any doubt of the persistent power of literature it should be banished by the novel “1984” by George Orwell. There is much that reasonant for most of us in Orwell’s dystopia in the face of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA; the totalitarian State of Oceania, its menacing Big Brother, the history-erasing Ministry of Truth and the sinister Thought Police with their everpresent telescreens. Eventhough the novel “1984” was read by its readers in 1949, the novel was meant to represent a very real threat in near future: a totalitarian regime within the next thirty years. The threat against privacy is, in Orwell’s opinion, one to be fought against. Looking at “1984” while pondering over the ideological criticism, one would find traces of certain ideologies in the artifact and the artifact in this particular case being the literary work “1984” by George Orwell. The primary target when doing a ideological reading, is to discover or locate the dominant ideology or the ideologies embedded in the literary work and perhaps the ones that are muted in it. The political ideology of Big Brother in “1984” is shown through a third person narration that clearly understands what Winston experiences living under a totalitarian regime. The style that Orwell appropriates in relaying this political ideology is one of fear and control. The ‘telescreens’ are constantly watching you and listening in on your conversations; “The......

Words: 844 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

1984

...In 1984 by George Orwell the protagonist Winston Smith, the question is smith a hero or not. Some people feel that Smith is not a hero though; The reason why is because he fell in controlled by Big Brother at the end of the book. There is many reason in the book that he is a hero. The first reason is that he bought a diary and kept writing that he wants to stop Big Brother. The second reason is that he has a love affair with Julia event though Big brother prohibited him. The last reason is it took him along time to be brainwashed, forget about Julia, and love Big Brother. There may be reasons that Smith is not a hero but there is a lot more reason that he is a hero. The book starts off with Winston Smith having so much control, but by the end he does not have any control. He did what he could do to rebel from Big Brother, which makes him a hero in this case. In the beginning of 1984, it shows that Smith is in a dystopian society. The slogan that everybody lives by “war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength”. This slogan Contradictory itself which is an important tribute to the power of the society's mass campaign of psychological control. In a theory, the society maintain “War Is Peace” because they have the same enemy and it keeps everyone in Oceania together. The other saying “Freedom Is Slavery” because people doing their own thing independently will eventually fail in doom. The last thing is “Ignorance Is Strength” because if people cannot recognize......

Words: 1124 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

1984

...Can you imagine living in a time where the government monitors every little second of your life to the point you have absolutely no freedom? George Orwell gives you a terrifying glimpse at what he believed to be a fictional future. 1984 is about a time where the main character Winston battles against Oceania’s ideologies such as newspeak, doublethink, thought crime and most importantly Big Brother. I think that technology and doublethink were the main reasons that benefited the Inner Party’s ability to maintain power because it allowed them to control their citizens both mentally and physically. Oceania’s government is shaped in a way that people’s thoughts are manipulated and actions are limited. One way the Party members maintain control is through the concept of doublethink. According to the books definition, doublethink is the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously and accepting both of them. Winston described it as “to know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies.” (P. 31) Doublethink has many different ways of basically operating the minds living in Oceania. An example of doublethink that I believe helps Winston realize that the government is controlling their society is when the telescreens broadcast a message containing bad news concerning the chocolate rations. The Ministry of Plenty had made a promise a while back to never reduce chocolate rations, but because of......

Words: 1009 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

1984

...On a cold day in April of 1984, a man named Winston Smith returns to his home, a dilapidated apartment building called Victory Mansions. Thin, frail, and thirty-nine years old, it is painful for him to trudge up the stairs because he has a varicose ulcer above his right ankle. The elevator is always out of service so he does not try to use it. As he climbs the staircase, he is greeted on each landing by a poster depicting an enormous face, underscored by the words “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.” Winston is an insignificant official in the Party, the totalitarian political regime that rules all of Airstrip One—the land that used to be called England—as part of the larger state of Oceania. Though Winston is technically a member of the ruling class, his life is still under the Party’s oppressive political control. In his apartment, an instrument called a telescreen—which is always on, spouting propaganda, and through which the Thought Police are known to monitor the actions of citizens—shows a dreary report about pig iron. Winston keeps his back to the screen. From his window he sees the Ministry of Truth, where he works as a propaganda officer altering historical records to match the Party’s official version of past events. Winston thinks about the other Ministries that exist as part of the Party’s governmental apparatus: the Ministry of Peace, which wages war; the Ministry of Plenty, which plans economic shortages; and the dreaded Ministry of Love, the center of the......

Words: 262 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

1984

...The novel I just finished reading was titled 1984 by George Orwell. This story covers a modern controversy that the government is constantly watching us, from hidden cameras, to tapping in our phone lines, to spies. Though this is a fictional novel, it is very similar to today’s society. In the novel, we are introduced to Winston Smith, one who is against the Big Brother Party who is keeping Oceania under surveillance perpetually. Winston takes us through his expedition on a life of secrecy. The author of the book is George Orwell. The whole novel is written in third person context and in one continuous present storyline. His writing style is superb as he puts the reader in the shoes of Winston. Every emotion Smith feels, the reader feels as well. Winston Smith is a low-ranking member of the ruling party in London, in the nation of Oceania. The nation of Oceania is constantly being under watch along with many others by the Big Brother Party. The party keeps the society under watch so that no citizen could be rebellious. The Big Brother Party prohibits free thoughts, sex, expression of individuality and even thoughts of rebellion is a crime. Winston who dislikes the party’s rigid control purchases a diary to write all his rebellious thoughts. Throughout the novel, he meets Julia, his co-worker who he fell in love with. They go behind the party’s back and have a secret relationship. Te party soon discovers their rebellious acts and decides to punish then severely by......

Words: 974 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

1984

...1984 essay 1984, written by George Orwell was about a place called Oceania. Oceania was controlled by Big Brother. They lived up to “WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH” (17).The government, which was known as The Party, controlled everyone. Like what they could wear, where they could go, what they could do, even what they could think and say. You were always being watched at all times. When these laws were broken there were consequences. Winston and Julia learned that the hard way, to find out that they never truly loved each other. Both Winston and Julia worked for the outer party. At first Winston was scared of her because he thought she was a spy, until one day she wrote him a not that said “I love you” on it. But because of Big Brother always watching, he never had a chance to say anything to her. One day at the tables, he sat next to her. Mumbling to each other they decided to meet at “Victory square, near the monument” (94). That way there was a crowd so that it wouldn’t be obvious that they were meeting up. With having to sneak around to hide from everyone, it all became easier when they moved in together. Well so they thought. They moved into an apartment which they thought had no telescreens, where no one would find out about them. For a while things seemed to be going well, they cared about each other a lot. One day they heard a noise. It was a telescreen that was hidden behind a picture from them. The thought police came barging in through......

Words: 511 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

1984

...George Orwell’s 1984 was written to inform his audience of the dangers of totalitarian governments. The society George Orwell creates, can be very easily compared to that of Hitler’s time. In Oceania, the minority has absolute power just like the Nazi Party had absolute power in and Germany. The Nazi’s were there to make sure that no rebellions took place just as Big Brother is there to stop any acts of rebellion in Oceania. Control is necessary in society up to a specific point where the government takes control of every aspect of life; beyond that it is no longer effective. Winston Smith is in a society in which the people like himself are under complete control physically and psychologically through use of technology and senior party members. The Thought Police stop any citizens thinking about rebelling with telescreens, hidden microphones, and children spies. Firstly, Big Brother, the fictional character, is described to be the dictator of Oceania, has the most powerful role in society as head of the party. The people are constantly reminded that “Big Brother is Watching You (Orwell 3).” They persistently watch the people for any act of rebellion. Control is being achieved however, it is not effective as public and private life is diminished. Next, the telescreen plays another effective role in helping the party manipulate the people by blasting out propaganda. The information they provide the people with is all lies to make the party look good. Winston......

Words: 830 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

1984

...In George Orwell’s, Nineteen Eighty Four, a totalitarian society seeks “limitless” power throughout England over a poor population in which society has an isolated nature by the use of dictatorship. As the isolated nature of the characters may be the genesis of the party’s power, this is only one factor. Telescreens, CCTV, and hidden microphones are situated in the ‘1984’ society, to manipulate the minds and alter the thoughts of the general population. The undeveloped, urban life and land of ‘1984’ portrays the dangers of totalitarianism. Furthermore, the novel is set in the future, which exposes the Party, a totalitarian government, and their control on the past and thriving strength. Truly then, the setting of the novel (isolated nature) affects the development of various themes such as psychological manipulation, dangers of totalitarianism, the party’s subversiveness, historical control leading to power.  The party’s way of dealing with subversive people is to make them disappear, and eventually remove them from history, therefore giving the party absolute power to change the past and the future. In 1984, ‘people simply disappear’, their ‘name was removed from the register’ and their ‘one-time existence was denied and forgotten’. In a totalitarian society, Orwell illustrates that if citizens cast criticism or dissent, they are ‘abolished’ to conserve complete control and avoid a rebellion. Orwell’s view on this political concept was constructed through his experience......

Words: 683 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

1984

...Performance treatment Tongtong Zhang I believe the play 1984 by George Orwell is representational. According to the definition of representational acting, representational style of acting provide audience an illusion of watching a representation of life. A representational set generally form a type of reality setting. We need a lot of actors, costumes and props for representational acting. For example, the scene should be happened in a hard, bare room. Therefore, the stage is set up like a room. There are tables, chairs, one telescreen, and lots of posters. All these setups are trying to convince the audience what they see is a hard, bare room where the story happened. Also, there are 12 actors to play 12 different roles. Moreover, the representational set is more suitable for a realism play. Representational acting doesn’t require interaction between actors and audiences. It is as though the audience doesn’t even exist; they are separated from the stage and the actor is unaware of the audience’s presence. In contrast of representational acting, presentational is a term which use to emphasize theatricality and acknowledges the theatre as theatre. In presentational setting there is no illusion. In presentational theatre, epic stories can be told with a minimum number of actors and a few costumes and props. There are several conflicts exist in this play and I want to talk about the central conflict first. The central conflict in a play is the main problem in the story.......

Words: 1786 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

1984

...Mastroianni Professor Marilyn Boyle-Taylor EAC 236 Monday November 2nd 2015 1984 By George Orwell There are vast amounts of ideas regarding utopia and several authors who have contributed their work which have been studied for many years (decades) in literature. Utopia is something that is imaginary; it is an ideal state of command and vision of political or social perfection. 1984 by George Orwell is one of the most widely read books based on a tale for our future society that involved nothing less than extinction of humanity itself. 1984 is based on a totalitarian government, which is a type of government that tries to take over all aspects of life without any other parties or opinions that can conflict with the exercise of it. This novel is a story based out of London where the city is very run down and dirty, there is not a lot of food to go around and mostly everything is disgusting regardless. The main character, Winston Smith, is a man who works for the government and hates the way he lives in this society he is forced to be a part of. Every day he repeats the same routine and tolerates what is expected of him or follows the consequences if he stepped out of societal boundaries. One day, a woman named Julia, who worked in the same building as him, turned his life around ever so quickly. They both wanted to rebel against “Big Brother”, the party which controlled their lives. Behind 1984 there is a sense of injustice; man versus a political system that targets......

Words: 1158 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

1984

... “No one is free, even the birds are chained to the sky.” Bob Dylan said this probably not knowing its profound connection with George Orwell’s novel “1984”, but the as well could be in “1984”. Orwell depicts a totalitarian dystopian world where there is no freedom and citizens are being brainwashed constantly. Without any sense of individual fairness, people work for the party just like the gear wheels in a machine. In order to achieve this, the politicians in “1984” suppress people’s thinking and eliminate their freedom by creating fear through propaganda, strict laws and incessant surveillances.   In “1984”, lies, myths and false information controls the thinking of the citizens. The Party uses propaganda as the deadliest weapon of control. Propaganda increases the citizens’ morale and makes them think that what the party tells them to do is always right. There are mainly two types of propaganda, one changes truth, so-called doublethink, and another creates fear. “Doublespeak” can be seen frequently in the world of 1984. The party’s big slogan “WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.” (George Orwell, 4) is an good example. The idea of the slogan is to convince the citizens that what they want, is what they already have. Only war can make peace and harmony, so peace is no longer peace, it becomes war; anyone who is slaved and wants freedom, he already has freedom; you can only strengthen yourself by not knowing things and being ignorant. The slogan......

Words: 922 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

1984

...Novel Notes “1984” Step 1: Dean, Michael, and George Orwell. 1984. Harlow: Pearson Education, 2003. Print. * George Orwell was born in Bengal, India as Eric Arthur Blair. Orwell is a novelist, essayist, and critic. * He had strong opinions and addressed some of the major political movements of his time. * Orwell’s father was stationed in India and stayed there when George, his mom, and his sisters moved to England. Orwell and his father never had a strong connection. * Orwell composed his first poem around the age of 4, he then struggled in the years to come with getting his writing career off the ground. * Also wrote Animal Farm, a novel attacking Stalinism. * Once graduating from the university he became very interest in political matters, which led him the writing of 1984. Step 2: What is the significance of the novel’s title? Orwell originally envisioned the title to be "The Last Man in Europe." But his editor, Frederic Warburg told Orwell he should change it. Therefore it became 1984, as we know it today. But there is much speculation as to where 1984 came from. There are two ideas I learned about. 1. Orwell, in 1948, may have thought a simple, two-digit end switcheroo would be a good title. 2. Or named it after his wife’s poem, "End of the Century, 1984." What is the novel’s setting in time and place? Does setting influence characters or actions? How much time is covered in the story? * Setting Time &......

Words: 1170 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

1984

...Rachel S. Stoker Mr. Saluga Honors English 10 20 April 2015 Government’s Humanity A government is a body of power used to control a nation. Different governments use different tactics. There’s democracy, socialism, monarchy, communism, and many more. Some rule with love, others rule with fear. The government portrayed in 1984 is known as “totalitarianism.” They control everyone and everything. In order to do so, the government manipulates humans by using their own traits against them. Some say this is dehumanizing them. However, you cannot dehumanize someone by using their human qualities, instincts, and natural survival tactics belonging to humans. For example, the number one instinct humans have is self-preservation. They will do whatever they can to survive, no matter what the case. To survive in the era of 1984, is to comply. The people of that time are forced to abide by every law and rule set by the totalitarianism style government. As a result of self-preservation is a natural tactic of survival for human beings, it’s something they will do subconsciously and automatically. Conforming, in this case, is requiring to “remove emotion” and individuality. In those places, they incorporate routine, acceptance, and – most importantly – taking away thought. They practically become robots in some ways. To self-preserve, people automatically conform. Whether they wish to or not, the human mind will do anything to preserve itself. It took a decent amount...

Words: 599 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

1984

...1984 The first half of the novel 1984 is written in first person point-of-view. The book is narrated to us by Winston, a Party member. It is quite interesting that Orwell decided to write the book this way because many questions arise from it. One example of this would be that Winston was once married to Katherine. She wanted to have children, but she did not feel attracted to Winston in that way. She felt that having sex was just part of their duty as Party members. They eventually separated. They did not divorce because getting a divorce in this society is against the rules. Now, you know that the married couples in this society are not happy. They are purposefully put together because they would not mesh well together. They do this so there is no real trust between them so they would not feel weird reporting each other if they did something wrong. Since this is written only in Winston’s point-of-view it does make the question of how many other married couples really and legitimately have no feelings for each other and just feel like having children is part of their duty and how many couples would get a divorce if it were allowed in society. Another example is the picture Winston found. The picture showed the dishonesty of the Party. During the Revolution some of the leaders were arrested. One day, Winston saw a few of the leaders sitting at a café. The picture clearly showed that the leaders were in New York at the time they were said to have been committing......

Words: 560 - Pages: 3