Although Orwell’s vision of the future did not come to pass, it does not make his fears that this dystopian society may be created through human error, as there is a chance that it can still occur.
It can be argued that the principles of power that Orwell describes in ‘1984’ are the same throughout all history. Where O’Brien describes “the object of power is power” is just as terrifying to Winston in the timeless novel, as to a reader in 1949 when the novel was published and also as to a reader in 2014. This is due to the blunt reality of O’Brien’s comment on power; “object” which leaves no room for any further interpretation, therefore shows the reader the true chilling reasons why power is originally seized. O'Brien's revelation of the true want for power is relevant, regardless of the fact that Orwell’s fears such as: communism and the Soviet State taking control did not occur. This is due to the fact that as O’Brien says: “power is not a means, it is an end” which again echoes the definiteness of control highlighted in the aforementioned quote. Here, the description that power “is an end” can definitely be seen as terrifying as it expects that once power is taken, it is maintained. However this does disagree with the historical context of Orwell’s time, as in 1949, Hitler and his visions of the Third Reich had crumbled, and in his place rose Stalin in control of East Germany known as the GDR. It could be argued that despite both Stalin and Hitler failing to keep power, they still intended to, but their reach was not as great due to opposition. This is a stark contrast to Orwell’s world of ‘1984’ where there was no huge resistance to Big Brother, as it is implied that Big Brother created opposition to secure the power. Therefore Orwell’s message can be seen as even more terrifying and more relevant as it shows what would happen if ultimate power was achieved by the wrong people.
Orwell’s story can also be seen as more relevant as it can appear as a warning to mankind. Despite its fictional base, it has some very realistic undertones, where repetition has been used intensify this. The constant use of the verb “confess” that Winston practises in relation to crimes he did not commit, is interesting due to its link to the religious “confession”. In Winston’s world, where religion is banned, he seems to frequently comment on O’Brien as a form of deity. This adoration of O’Brien continues throughout Winston’s torture, which seems to be a very odd thing. However Winston describes in free-indirect discourse that “it was easier to confess everything and implicate everybody”, showing his reversal of morals due to the immense pressure he was under. Yet his beliefs of O’Brien seem to only become greater and greater, which often boarder onto the question of Winston’s romantic feelings towards O’Brien. As backward as this regression of morals and progression of emotions, onto a character most readers would state as an absurd choice, it acts as motif throughout the novel, where the backward world of ‘1984’ is very much recognisable to the reader, but is also very different. Due to this recognisable world, it makes it much easier for the reader to make parallels and associations to their own situation. From this, regardless of the fact that Orwell’s vision did not occur, it makes the message of the story far more terrifying as it acts as a warning to the reader of the oppression and consequences such as regression that can occur due to totalitarianism.