Power given without constraint can create a corrupt society. George Orwell’s satire Nineteen-Eighty Four & Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption disturbingly portrays dangers of unlimited power & corruption. These texts show us the dangers that unrestricted supremacy may lead to.
Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty Four gives an insight into a totalitarian government. He warns about the acceptance of the government intrusion into ones private sphere. This is depicted through the use of telescreens, with the protagonist Winston Smith writing in his diary, ‘you had to live... under the assumption that every sound you made was overheard...’. This gives us a warning to an overly controlling government but specifically against the surveillance of the citizens going too far. Posters of Big Brother plastered all around Airfield One give us the feel that this dystopian society is subjected to propaganda. The level of authority can also be shown by the Thought Police, we are given an understanding of the control they hold when Winston states ‘Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever . . . Sooner or later they were bound to get you’. Thus, Orwell’s satirical novel shows us the need to maintain ones individual rights and to protect ourselves from a totalitarian government.
Orwell’s novel employs various characters to show us the effects of the abuse of power. It shows us how the dystopian force addressed, Big Brother, can use the power to control the populace, both physically and emotionally. Orwell shows us this by Smith overcoming his hate for Big Brother and O’Brien stating that ‘[they]...do not allow the dead to rise up against...[them]’. This gives us the feeling that even the slightest rebellion would leave somebody dead. Orwell also perceives the dystopian society as disastrous by creating ‘Newspeak’. ‘Newspeak’ has been created to remove bad words, or words which create bad thoughts and replacing them with a limited vocabulary. Minor character Syme tells Smith that it’s a ‘Beautiful thing, the destruction of words.’ Consequently, Nineteen-Eighty Four again demonstrates the need for ones right to be an individual and to have distribution of power within a nation.
Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption shows us how one person having all the power can create a corrupt and unsocial setting. He warns us against one sole leader, in this case, the prison warden. The level of control in the prison is shown in many ways through-out the film, one of the very earliest scenes showing the distribution of power between the warden and the captain of the prison guards is when Captain Hadley screams, ‘If I hear so much as a mouse fart in here the rest of the night I swear by God and sonny Jesus you will all visit the infirmary, Every last motherfucker in here’. This shows us that the prison life is unfair and unjust. Captain Hadley is also demonstrated as having a free pass to treat prisoners unfairly when he states, ‘What is your malfunction, you fat barrel of