V For Vendetta

V For Vendetta Themes


One of the novel's dominant themes is anarchy. While the term is often understood as a state of disorder that results from the absence of authority, V strives for anarchy as the preferred alternative to the oppression and hierarchy of the fascist Norsefire state. V's anarchic political philosophy holds that individuals are capable of organizing themselves collectively in a non-hierarchical society based on individual freedom and cooperation. V does not seek to lead the people, but rather believes that toppling the Norsefire political system will result in a temporary confusion and chaos, out of which will bloom a new political and social paradigm of mutual self-government with no need for power-hungry heads of state.


Memory acts as a powerful tool for invoking change and social consciousness in V for Vendetta. V’s personal memories of the atrocities he survived at Larkhill inspire the vengeance that propels him to topple Norsefire and free the people of London. Similarly, the letter containing Valerie’s experiences in the camp arouses a level of social responsibility and anger in Evey. At the same time, the novel illustrates the importance of not allowing memory to constrain an individual: for example, V advises Evey that "the past can’t hurt you anymore, not unless you let it." In this line, V recognizes how memories of punishment and discipline instilled by Norsefire continue to create fear and limit rebellion.

Freedom of Individuals

V for Vendetta can be seen as a text that celebrates and promotes the freedom of the individual to live according to one's own belief system. Through his campaign of terror, V seeks to free individuals from the brainwashing and intimidation carried out by Norsefire. In order to achieve true emancipation, and to free people from their invisible chains, V seeks to topple the hierarchical and oppressive structure that dictates people's actions and thoughts in a fascist society.


One of V's most distinctive qualities is his penchant for theatricality. His mask, while based on the traditional Guy Fawkes mask, is stylized in a fashion that evokes the exaggerated facial features of "sock and buskin" (i.e. comedy and tragedy) masks of ancient Greek drama. Besides his costumed appearance, V favors dramatic entrances, like a character unexpectedly appearing on stage. Similarly, V prefers to speak in passages quoted from classic literature and plays. V's love of theatricality can be seen as a romantic response to the Norsefire's efforts to eradicate culture from society, as fascist governments fear the emancipatory possibilities of subversive arts.


Throughout V for Vendetta, the fascist Norsefire regime uses their pervasive surveillance network (the Eye, the Ear, the Nose, and the Finger) to keep control on any subversive activities occurring within the population. The surveillance network oppresses people of England and restricts their freedoms by reminding them that they are always being watched and listened to. The Leader is able to tap into the mass surveillance network through Fate, his computer system. As a form of poetic justice, V uses the network against Norsefire. After infiltrating the system, V is able to keep tabs on the Norsefire party members, learn their vulnerabilities, and then exploit them.


Terrorism—the use of violence and intimidation against civilians in the pursuit of political aims—is one of the novel's most prominent themes. While the Norsefire government refers to V as a terrorist, it can be argued that the tactics of the government are a greater form of terrorism, as V seeks to liberate the people while the Norsefire party works to suppress dissent. In this way, the novel illustrates how terrorism is used by states as well as individuals.


Another of the novel's major themes is fascism, a system of government and social organization that is antidemocratic and usually perpetuates ideas of national and/or ethnic supremacy. Historical examples of fascism include Mussolini's regime in Italy and Hitler's Nazi party in Germany. In V for Vendetta, Moore and Lloyd envision a British fascist government called Norsefire. The policies and terror tactics of Norsefire hew closely to those of the historical precedents, as Norsefire uses propaganda, concentration camps, torture, white supremacy, and surveillance to carry out its political aims. It is V's goal to destroy hierarchical fascist ideology, which he sees as antithetical to the freedom of the individual.