The thing that came to mind the whole time I was reading this was, “Do I think what V is doing is wrong, or do I understand it?” I have to say, I still don’t have an answer.
How far is too far?
I have not had the best life. It hasn’t been the worst, but it wasn’t all kittens and sunshine when I was growing up. All I thought about the whole novel was, “If I had the chance to be such an awesome dude, would I exact revenge on all my enemies?” and “Would I be able to do it in a way that benefited others, and not just myself?” I obviously was not part of any big government secret; I was not experimented on; I did not set a
concentration resettlement camp on fire and escape, never to be seen again. However, I have my Lewis Protheros, my Delia Surridges; my Derek Almonds. Could I do this? Could I kill all the people responsible for what happened to me?
Obviously, the answer is no. For one thing, I don’t have the means of doing so. I have no Shadow Gallery. I do not possess the skills necessary on basically any level to pull off the stealth attacks, technology takeovers, or the actual, physical murder of someone larger than I am. I am also a generally passive person. I don’t think I could stomach doing this to anyone, no matter what they’d done to me.
Is V justified, though?
He is not doing this just for revenge, but to also inspire another to carry on his ideals and values. He wants Evey to learn (as she does) that she has the power to be truly free, despite living in the prison that the government has set up in England.
He seems to show mercy to those who are ashamed by what they’d done, but is ruthless to those who deny or even enjoyed their time at the camps.
Could he have found another way? Is there another way, really, to make truly evil people (as they seem here) recognize their evilness and turn from it? These people did everything (morally) wrong, and yet, everything went right for them. They are members of a corrupt and controlling government, thus making them somewhat protected from outside accusation and legal action. What else is a vigilante to do?
The ends justify the means… Right?
It’s hard to imagine a world like theirs. One where the government takes away all things with a sense of personality and freedom; where rules are enforced to the point of execution; where you can never really feel safe, even with security patrolling about. I’m not sure what I would do, but I like to think that I would remain independent and strong, and try to find a way out of this. I think part of all of us wants to be the old fart that lives in the tunnels, collecting art and music that was destroyed, and making plans to change the world someday. Do we want to kill people to get there? Probably not. Does that mean we absolutely never would? I hope we’ll never know.
So the real question is something I think we constantly face in real life- do we sacrifice a few (maybe even ourselves) for the greater good? How much is what we’re fighting for worth to us? I think that’s something only you can decide.