Darkness is defined by who is in power, not by what is actually dark. Darkness over time, both in literature and in society, has always taken on a negative connotation. It is often viewed in conjunction with terms such as evil and bad, when in actuality this idea of darkness stems from societies constant fear on the unknown. Darkness as an evil force is a social construct established by a moral code and due to the differences in moral codes throughout society it is impossible to have one centralized definition of Darkness. Using the literary work, V for Vendetta will illustrate that darkness is simply defined by its current society. What is acceptable then defines what is labeled evil and bad, which is how darkness continues to move throughout history.
V for vendetta by Alan Moore is a graphic novel depicting the future history of the United Kingdoms after the nuclear war in the 1980s. Moore paints a picture of true despair and a world destroyed by the war in his novel. The majority of the damage done is indirect damage such as crop failure. The novel was written during the political reign of Margaret Thatcher, who was often viewed as a dictator. She was responsible for creating many laws against sexuality, in support of racial division, and different economic standings. V for vendetta is centered on the characters V and Every. V is depicted as the villain and darkness of the story by the government when he can also be looked at as the hero. V for Vendetta has an underlying topic which is fascism, a government idea that one person knows better so they should be in charge. Moore wrote the story of V for Vendetta to express his distaste for Thatcher and her political agenda. The story paints a picture of a government that is enforces the same principles that Margaret thatcher stood for. In the early 2000’s, V for Vendetta was released on film. At the time of its film release, the United States was engaged in was with Iraq.
The society depicted in the story is one made entirely of darkness. One of the first scenes in the movie is a scene of the Fingermen, their form of police, attempting to rape female character Evey in a dark alleyway at night because she was out after curfew. These men were in charge of creating and enforcing order for their society. Their power and authority was discredited immediately due to their criminal actions yet they weren’t viewed as evil. Throughout the story V is depicted as a villain, yet the societal structure that brought him to this point is never questioned. He states “What was done to me created me. It’s a basic principle of the universe that every action will create an equal and opposing reaction.” He is labelled a villain because he is controversial and unwavering in his determination to change society as well as seek revenge for what was done to him. In his younger years, V was kept as a human experiment at a "resettlement camp" called Larkhill. In order to gain revenge, V kills and torments all of the people that had something to do with the trauma he experienced while at Larkhill. He took his revenge a step further and used this motivation to fuel a revolution. He exposed the hidden actions of murder and torture within the government done to the people of London. It took his determination and his rebellion to truly highlight the devastation and harm caused by the government and to open citizen’s eyes to what they unknowingly began to accept. “Since man kind’s dawn, a handful of oppressors have accepted the responsibility over our lives that we should have accepted ourselves. By doing so, they took our power. By doing nothing, we gave it away. We’ve seen where their way was, through camps and wars, towards the slaughterhouse.”
This story is a perfect example of how literature is can be used as a tool. It can inspire different feelings in different audiences. It can challenge ones ideals, be used to make people think, and eventually act.