O’Brien’s Moral Dehumanization: Villainy in "1984" 10th Grade

“Nobody is a villain in their own story. We're all the heroes of our own stories.” According to George R.R. Martin, an estimable American novelist, an individual's perspective ultimately decides whether he views himself as a protagonist and deems his doings morally correct. These seem to be the circumstances of O’Brien in George Orwell’s 1984. Through the physical and psychological torture O’Brien imposes on Winston, and the deceitful claims O'Brien made about being in the Brotherhood, Orwell illustrates that a steep sacrifice is made when the implementation of villainy dehumanizes morals in exchange for even the slightest sum of power.

O’Brien chooses to capture and “re-educate” citizens in 1984 because he feels an empowering sense of purpose. In reality, his soul has already been emptied out by the Party. While Winston is in his cell, O’Brien tells him what the Inner Party will do to him when he says, “Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy, of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves” (Orwell 256). The Party’s idea of the ideal Oceanic citizen would harbor none of the qualities listed above,...

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