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Anarchy, Chaos, and Revolution in V for Vendetta

In: English and Literature

Submitted By takaguruharu
Words 916
Pages 4
Colin Stein
ENGL 3060
Mr. Daniel Larson
April 18, 2014
Anarchy, Chaos, and Revolution in V for Vendetta
Close Reading Panels:

(Moore, 248)
Throughout V for Vendetta, author Alan Moore emphasizes the significant line that V draws between anarchy and chaos, and the role that each concept plays in his revolution. Whereas V lives his life according to the precepts, or lack thereof, inherent to anarchism, he vehemently condemns the blind purposelessness, impropriety, and disorder of total chaos. Both concepts, however, are associated with V’s act of revolution; anarchy and chaos initiate the uprising, and it is up to Evey and the liberated citizenry of Great Britain to either stay the course with anarchy and rebuild their society or allow it to devolve into a state of chaos. A close reading analysis of the panels above reflect V’s beliefs regarding anarchy, chaos, and revolution, and their critical relationship to one another. This paper will argue that anarchy and chaos are bound to the concept of revolution, in that the society following a revolution faces structured anarchy or an unstructured chaos. Moore reinforces this theme in the panels through his symbolism and specific diction. Within these two panels, David Lloyd’s animation exhibits a number of symbolic images that reinforce Moore’s theme. One such example occurs in the first panel, on the image of V. In this scene, as the slain V’s words on revolution echo in Evey’s head, his body is symmetrically split into two distinct shades of black and white. Much in the same way that Rorschach’s mask in Watchmen symbolizes an organized chaos with symmetrical, random blobs, this image of V juxtaposes the clash of color with precise symmetry, symbolizing the organized chaos inherent to V and the concept of his anarchist revolution. This suggests that chaos and anarchy are closely tied to V’s character, and therefore his revolution. Another significant piece of symbolism occurs in the second panel, as Evey descends a staircase with V’s words still ringing in her head. In this scene, the staircase is split into two sections divided by a rail, with Evey on one side and a thick black trail of V’s blood on the other side. There are two doorways at the landing, the passage on Evey’s side clear and the other passage plagued by a murky pool of blood. This dichotomous imagery symbolizes the two possible outcomes of V’s revolution: one is a clear path led by Evey and is characterized by light and clarity, while the other is a murky, blood-filled path characterized by darkness and obscurity. These two paths symbolize the revolution’s outcomes, the left symbolic of anarchism and the right symbolic of darkness and chaos. As Evey descends the left path, Moore suggests this is the path that humanity will take, a point which is also emphasized in V’s monologue through the use of personification. Another significant literary device employed by Moore is his specific diction, which he puts to use at the beginning of V’s posthumous monologue. A significant example of this takes place in the first panel, as V personifies anarchy. Moore writes, “Anarchy wears two faces, both creator and destroyer. Thus destroyers topple empires; make a canvas of clean rubble where creators then can build another world” (Moore, 248). V’s personification of anarchy as a two-faced creature, both creator and destroyer, emphasizes the dangerous and temperamental nature of anarchy, in that it can destroy old regimes and make way for the rebuilding of new society. The personification of anarchy seems to describe V himself, who both paved the way for the creation of a new society, but did so through dangerous, chaotic destruction including murder, fear, and manipulation. Anarchy as both a creator and destroyer suggests that while an anarchist revolution has the power to create through liberation, it achieves that end through the use of chaotic destruction, a concept that reflects the character of V in a very tangible way. This use of chaos to create indicates that a very real, and very dangerous, outcome of revolution is total chaos. Another example of diction that reinforces Moore’s theme of revolution and its relationship with structured anarchy and unstructured chaos occurs in the second panel. Moore writes, “Away with our explosives, then! Away with our destroyers! They have no place within our better world” (Moore, 248). This quote of V’s reveals a very ironic truth of his revolution, which is that his explosives, their oppressors, and the chaotic destruction that they represent have a very real place in his and Evey’s idealistic, better world; indeed, they play a critical role in its creation. In the very same way, V’s death shows that he has no place in the new, anarchist establishment, just as chaos and destruction are incompatible with a peaceful, rational anarchist society. At its most essential level, V for Vendetta can be seen as the story of a successful revolution whose outcome has yet to be decided; we know not whether the society will maintain structure and follow anarchism or lose structure entirely and dissolve into a state of total chaos. What we learn from Moore’s symbolism and diction, however, is that the three concepts are closely tied, especially through V, who seems to personify all three. After analyzing V’s revolution and its origins in anarchy and chaos, understanding humanity’s response to the dissolution of societal structures would expand upon this argument, and provide a more holistic understanding of the text and its reoccurring anarchist themes.

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