Composers employ various elements of their representational mediums to elucidate their critique on the impact of political corruption on the individual and broader society. Through their differing textual forms, composers highlight the abuse of political power through acts such as coercive conformity and social conditioning in forbidding the state to see the significance of the individual. However, society possesses a higher independent power that can challenge tyrannical authority and its oppressive demands that sacrifices one’s individuality. Author Aldous Huxley, applies the medium of a satirical novel in Brave New World (1932) to convey his condemnation of dictatorial states, which propels responders to understand the value of individuality and how the abuse of political power can limit the human experience. Director James Mc Teigue draws upon his quasi-historical film through cinematographic techniques in V for Vendetta (2005) to further represent the threat of covert political motivations in driving unjust acts, and suppressing individual liberties. Through both a satirical novel and quasi-historical film, both composers effectively use their mediums to concurrently represent their differing political viewpoints, which propels responders to understand the complexity of the political environment and the negative and positive effects of its exploitation on individuals and broader society. Composers employ an intended contrast of styles to emphasize how ones’ individuality is subtly negotiated for totalitarian stability.
In Brave New World, Huxley utilizes a satiric perspective to represent authoritative brutality through the idea of soma and social conditioning. Huxley exposes the tyranny of conformism through the sardonic use of exaggeration of the happy tenor within “the warm, the richly coloured, the infinitely friendly soma-holiday. ” While highlighting Huxley’s cynical take on the consumerist ideology and drugs, the emblematic anaphora allows responders to question the war against drugs, where authority is still unable to eliminate its presence in modern society. These devices are recurrent in the novel representing the abuse of censorship as a political act, which is made evident within “the mind that judges and desires and decides- make up of… our the state suggestions!” The understatement of ‘suggestions’ emphasises the sternness of the commandments from the state, and the manipulation of the government in instilling an obedient culture within the social classes. Hence, suppressing the intellectual mind that can powerfully catalyse a revolution against authority. In addition, this systematic totalitarian ideology highlights Huxley’s satiric take on the Marxist ideology, which claimed social equality but rather feeds the power vacuum of oppressive dictators. Thus, Huxley effectively uses satire to represent his competing perspective on the impact of political acts and its motivations on individual liberties and society as a whole.
In addition, to indoctrinate the population with a cult of culture aimed at conformity is a political act that weakens civil opposition and limits individuality. A broadened representation on the abuse of political control is emphasised through the satiric use of reversal within the asyndeton “community, stability and identity. ” Deliberately placing significance on the term community, before identity, reinforces that stability is maintained by coercing an individual to government subordination and depriving the citizen of individuality. This notion recurs through the assonance, “everyone belongs to everyone else” which objectifies and dehumanises the individual to be merely the property of another. However, Huxley emphasises the power of the cooperation between the individual and society that can challenge tyrannical authority and its oppressive demands that sacrifices one’s individuality. Lenina gives evidence to this within the rhythmic statement, “when the individual feels, the community reels” highlighting that political acts will never truly impact everyone, as one’s ideas can be contagious upon the rest of the community and can shake the stability of the government. Thus, Huxley employs satire as a mechanism to propose his critique and dystopian perspective that emphasises that politics is a double edged sword. That is, oppressive political acts such as coercive conformity cannot impact an individual when society stands against tyrannical dictatorships and its injustices.
In V for Vendetta, director, James Mc. Teigue employs the medium of a quasi-historical film and through cinematographic techniques, represents his perspective on authoritative brutality. The diegetic wails of terror and close-up shots of Evey’s panicked expression as she is held at knife-edge by the secret police assists with Mc. Teigue’s depiction of a dictatorial government’s abusive oppression. Chiaroscuro lighting casts Evey into intense light, emphasising her vulnerability, which positions the audience to consider the dreadful impact of such tyrannical control. However, through the protagonist V, Mc. Teigue represents his underlying concept that acts of political oppression will not impact the individual and broader society, if used as a catalyst to challenge political rule. This concept is further captured through V’s costume, his mask illuminated by low-key lighting, and the close up shot of V orating, “People should not be afraid of their government; governments should be afraid of their people. ” Thus, emphasising the forceful impact of negative political acts and its motivations in creating V to “become a monster, ” has enhanced his courage to challenge political oppression. This relays, unjust political acts are not an obstacle affecting the individual or society, rather they can become the driving force which unites a community to fight for vigilant justice and overthrow dictatorial states to advance for the better.
Teague’s satirical representation of the government’s exploitation of the media for political purposes is intended to manipulate the audience to question the extent to which they themselves are victims of such deception and censorship. In the context of the patriot act resulting from the paradigm shift after 9/11 which gave broad ranging powers to the American government to survey suspected terrorists, the director represents political figures to be of barbarous nature. The mid-shot angles and diegetic sounds of swords clashing, captures the satiric use of reversal as government officers attempt to rape a civilian, which highlights Teigue exposing the hypocritical nature of authority in challenging the idea of civil protection and safety. Also, through the mise en scene of propaganda posters and curfew signs along with news broadcasts through the media, the director represents the extent of manipulation political acts impose on society. Showcasing a montage of news broadcasts through fabricated issues, such as “civil war, ” “water shortages”, “avian flu” and “airborne pathogens, ” represents the abuse of media to instill fear within the populace, hence, coercing them into obedience. As such, Mc. Teigue positions viewers to consider the corruption of the media and political leaders within their own contexts through a confronting representation of the media’s dishonesty in this quasi-realistic state.
Government authority and the people cooperate in a symbiotic relationship in shaping the political environment and driving society towards advancement for the better. However, technological and scientific advancements are exploited at the hands of authority to impose decisions that negate one’s individuality and coerce society under government subordination. Huxley effectively uses his satiric medium to ridicule such actions and create awareness on the importance of people power. Mc Teigue provides insight into the perspective of a hero, who was deemed a historical assassin to highlight the need to challenge authority that suppresses individual liberties. Through various forms and mediums, audiences gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the political environment and that resilience is necessary to defy against the individual and social impacts oppressive political acts pose.
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