The Intentions of V and Murrow

Two men and two calls to action


During the Red Scare and V for Vendetta, both instances of society demonstrate various aspects that are related to both a dystopian society and protagonist. The protagonists of each society: V and Murrow, both feel strongly about the current situation in which they find themselves, and as a result, they both issue a public call to action in order to change the situation for the better. There are major differences between the situations that each protagonist faces as well as within their respective calls to action. It would be unlikely that each protagonist could properly accomplish what they had set out to do had they switched roles and used the same methods that they had in their previous situations. Let us analyze the particular differences between these two and why they may have had to employ the type of call that they did.

In order to better understand the call to action of each protagonist, one must first understand the context in which the character found him or herself before issuing it. The setting in which V is living is dystopian to the point where the entire country operates under these restrictive morals. As a result, V must find the means to reach out to an entire nation and garner their approval if he is to accomplish his goal of overthrowing the corrupt government in control prior to his calling. Furthermore, V's call to action was issued through a hijacking of a public government-sponsored television broadcast. Due to the almost omnipotent status that the government of England has, there is only one chink in its seemingly impermeable armor. V points out the government's only weakness whilst speaking to Evey: "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." V reveals a significant point because the oppressive government of England rules over its people through the use of fear, but if the people all joined together, the government would be overwhelmed. V's call - or better yet - request for action could be compared to a very polite R.S.V.P to an extravagant event. V inquires, "...I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament..." and refers to his discourse as, "...a little chat." V provides the normally oppressed subjects of England with the freedom of choice to join him all while maintaining a calm and polite air about him. Since they are accustomed to having someone make their decisions for them, V's speech is engaging and gives people a sense of control.

On the other hand, Murrow also made an effort to communicate an idea to the masses during a period of conformity known by most as The Red Scare. Occurring during the times of the Cold War, the Red Scare was the irrational fear that most Americans had of 'Reds' (anyone associated with communism) spying on the United States for their homelands. Joseph McCarthy, a Wisconsin Senator, is widely considered to be responsible for the outbreak of the public's fears. McCarthy demonstrated his frenzied fears of communism through extreme methods of prosecution and unwarranted questioning. Because of severe consequences enforced upon those who did not confess and accuse others, innocent citizens were accused by other innocent citizens. Murrow, who wishes to alert citizens to this issue publicized his opinion and invoked feelings strong enough to cause a citizen to take action. Not many people during the Red Scare have stopped to realize that their inactivity is the main reason for the continued prosperity of the first instance of McCarthyism. When bringing this shortfall of the masses to light, Murrow says, "...unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse, and insulate us." Murrow employs harsh language such as 'fat surpluses' in order to abruptly bring to attention that television is being used to implant ideas into the heads of the masses. However, the most eye-opening part of Murrow's speech is when he says, "No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices." This comment suggests that since McCarthy has been successful in wreaking havoc, the common American citizens are the ones that should be held responsible. Murrow's call to action can be represented as a painful slap in the face with the same desired end result. A lesson was learned through the use of a blunt wake-up call.

Although both protagonists have the goals of improving societies by bringing awareness to the people that form them, there are many minute variations between the call to action of each man. For example, Murrow's call to action is a brusque and slightly irritated shout to bring awareness and results as soon as possible. On the other hand, V provides an option for all citizens to join him through the means of a reasonable request. Another main difference is that Murrow is attempting to salvage the united nation of America, but V, on the other hand, longs to destroy the central government building of the corrupt (fictional) country of England. Remarkably, Murrow said, "Otherwise it is nothing but wires and lights in a box." Just as the aforementioned quote of governments and their people fearing each other has done, Murrow has basically rephrased the words of V. Upon a deeper analysis, it can be seen that both V and Murrow positively contribute to their societies from opposite roles. While Murrow works against a frenzied government in order to preserve it, V represents the single man and his accomplices that Murrow mentions may terrorize an entire country.

Murrow and the writers of V for Vendetta have created their works in order to remind us all that not everything we hear is true and that history often repeats itself. Modern and old re-occurrences of both works can commonly be spotted throughout the progression of time. Take, for instance, the irrational fear of communists that 1940 & 50's Americans associated with Eastern Europeans during the Red Scare. Today in 2016, one of the most controversial topics of the American presidential election is the prevention of Muslim immigration to the United States due to the unfortunate association of Muslims with terrorists. After comparing the two protagonists and their respective calls to action, it is shocking how differently one can accomplish a challenge based on the type of situation that he/she is faced with. Both V and Murrow should be considered honorable heroes that brought awareness and realization to the masses in order to overcome a specific difficulty within their societies. Albeit approached differently, the situations that V and Murrow were faced with are drastically different and frighteningly realistic. In conclusion, it is amazing to see how balancing forces can be seen within inversely related occurrences with the same end result such as the ones demonstrated by V and Murrow.