V is a terrorist. It's easy to gloss over at first. After all, Norsefire is the pseduo-Nazi regime oppressing people and forcing them to do what they wanted; the ones torturing and killing people they consider unfit or undesirable. V is the only person who dares take them on, to say that they're wrong, and to free an entire populace that has been enslaved. In the opening chapters of the book, there is an enjoyable irony felt when Norsefire calls V a terrorist. After all, V is the good guy.

But V is a terrorist. He blows up populated buildings, undoubtedly killing dozens if not hundreds of civilians. He refuses to accept anyone else's point of view--he fanatically believes his view is the only way to see things. He murders, not just cold-bloodedly, but also deliberately torturing people to insanity and death. He manipulates people to be his unwitting accomplices, regardless of their feelings. He tortures and brainwashes Evey until she sees his point of view. V is the good guy?

It can be easy to approve of V's actions; V is a fiction. The story, however entertaining or disappointing, is not real, and knowing that can make the action in the novel easier to accept. But his actions, his terrorism, mirrors the terrorism in the real world. If such terrorism is deplored in our world, why are their fictional counterparts acceptable?

Perhaps it's because we identity with V. V's philosophy seems in line with our philosophy. Democratic governments allow their populace the right to choose how they are governed, the freedom to choose. As people living in a democracy, we like having that freedom, and will defend it vigorously. Therefore, V is sympathetic, for he is fighting for a cause we, too, believe in. Furthermore, V's is likeable. His charisma shows through his speech patterns, his philosophy, his dry sense of humor, his flare for dramatics. All these qualities and viewpoints make him seem human and consequently it becomes easy to forget that for all his "just" motivations, he is utterly ruthless in their application.

Another possibility is the fact that, for all V's acts of terrorism, they are applied solely to those who are part of Norsefire; V attacks bad people, not innocents. He blows up Jordan Tower, but not the Kit Kat Keller. Unlike most terrorists that attack to inflict the widest amount of damage on the widest group of people, V methodically chooses his victims. There is not one person (save for Evey, whom I will discuss momentarily) that V directly harms that is not actively assisting, or complicit in furthering, Norsefire's agenda. By contrast, Norsefire has no qualms raiding, imprisoning, and murdering anyone they deem to be against them; who instituted countless concentration camps for the sole purpose of exterminating entire cultures and ethnicities.

But while few people may shed tears for Peter Creedy or Derek Almond, what of the countless clerks and assistants, working for Norsefire out of necessity rather than conviction, died when The Ear and The Mouth exploded? What of all the people wounded and killed during the riots? V accepts chaos as a necessary part of the process. But this process was chosen by V, who holds himself accountable to no one while punishing others who have done the same thing. Why is he afforded a luxury no one else in the novel is given?

What of Rose Almond, whose descent into depression and murder is carefully orchestrated by V? Considering he always proved to be three steps ahead of Norsefire, and only died because he allowed himself to die, surely he could have killed Susan and not get killed in the process. For a man who claimed to wish to bring people freedom from oppression, he purposely let Rose be smothered by it, and did nothing while it drove her over the edge. This that the act of a compassionate man?

Then there is Evey. Here is someone V supposedly loves, yet he tortures her physically and psychologically, bringing her to the breaking point. It's easy to be distracted by the emotional weight of Valerie's story, which is at the emotional core of Evey's incarceration, but it doesn't excuse the fact that the only way V could bring Evey back to his side was through actions that are classic brainwashing techniques. Evey clearly disagrees with V's strategy, it's why she leaves him in the first place. Only when she is tortured and manipulated into seeing V's point of view is she allowed back. If V's cause is just, his views correct, why does he have to resort to such extremes to convince people of this?

How can you reconcile V's terrorism? The only possible reasoning that makes sense is that the ends justify the means. That though V's actions are extreme, they are necessary. V, Finch, and Evey all arrive at their epiphany's after psychological torture. This indicates that such enlightenment cannot come without pain. This idea is repeated with the entire society: before V's better world can come to fruition, Norsefire must be destroyed, and that can only happen after society descends into violence, loss and hardship. If change is necessary, then so is the pain that comes with it.

Of course, this explanation only fits if you believe that the ends really do justify the means. Change may be painful, but V does more than let anarchy loose upon the world; he directs it, channels it, for his specific goal. Fate is literally subverted, which means the change and pain all the characters in Vendetta experience can be traced back to V and the terrorism he uses. Again, this may be justified if you believe V's goals warrant it, but the terrorism V employs is very much a part of our world. The fanaticism V displays is echoed in the fanaticism of terrorist groups around the globe. Does V's beliefs truly justify such terror, or do we believe that only because we agree his beliefs? To put it another way: would you accept V's actions if you removed his mask and found the face of Osama bin Laden underneath?

This article is Ideological Freeware. The author grants permission for its reproduction and redistribution by private individuals on condition that the author and source of the article are clearly shown, no charge is made, and the whole article is reproduced intact, including this notice.