Winston Archetype and O'Brien Victim

What does O’Brien mean when he says that Winston is the last human? That Winston is humanity?

O’Brien has told Winston that he is the last man, because humanity is no more. When Winston undresses and looks at his body in the mirror he sees a filthy, sickly thin, injured, balding figure. O’Brien tells Winston that he is rotting away and that if he is human, that the image of Winston in the mirror is humanity. Winston then realizes how weak and thin he has become and that he must have been in the Ministry of Love for longer than he had imagined.

Being human means being alone and weak against an omnipotent party that he can’t win against. He is the last because everyone else has already complied with the party and Big Brother.

In what ways is Winston an archetype for the spirit or principle that he predicts will one day defeat the party?

Winston Smith may not be physically strong, but he is mentally strong. No one other than him understands what the party is doing to them and actively tries to change it by joining the Brotherhood. He said “until they become conscious, they will never rebel and until after they have rebelled they cannot be conscious” (Orwell 74). Winston is an unusual hero whose goal is to change society. If there were others that thought like Winston, the party was bound to be defeated eventually.

O'Brien as a victim

1984- O’Brien as a victim

In 1984, O’Brien seems to be a co-conspirator and friend to Winston until the third part of the novel, when he is revealed as a traitor who had been closely watching Winston. O’Brien serves as a representation of the party’s evil ideology, but it can be argued that O’Brien himself is a victim of the party.

While Winston saw O’Brien in jail, he said “they got me long ago” (Orwell) which suggests that he has been working for the Ministry of Love for a long time now. However it can be implied that O'Brien shares the same consciousness as Winston, but because of his status in the Party, has no reason to want society to change. He already has whatever he wants.

On the other hand, it is possible that O’Brien truly believes in the party policies. He truly believes what the party is doing is right. This could be because he has been an Inner Party member his entire life and knows nothing else. Unlike Winston, he has no memory of the past and believes that the party made people’s lives better.