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"V For Vendetta": An Introduction to the Theory of Perception

Updated on August 24, 2018
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Paul Joseph is a popular freelance journalist and column writer. He is famous on the internet for his matchless poetical language and style

Unlike usual action movies, V for Vendetta has a high-grade script. It addresses current affairs and has a sound political logic

V for Vendetta: As A Banned Blockbuster

V for Vendetta is a Hugo Weaving Natalie Portman starred film directed by James McTeigue. The movie is based on the 1982 comic book V for Vendetta written by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. It portraits a fictional English community and exposes a brave, charming freedom fighter known as ‘V’ (Vigilante) who leads a revolution against a futuristic authoritarian regime under Sulter. This write-up will discuss the personality traits of V as a leader, and how the theory of perception is employed in the movie V for Vendetta.

The movie aroused extensive discussion recently when China Central Television’s movie channels CCTV-6 broadcasted V for Vendetta despite its ban for subversive elements. The film contains a motivational line; ‘The people should not be afraid of the government, the government should be afraid of the people’. From a personal point of enjoyment, this movie contains several inspirational events and motivational aspects. Several groups have adopted the protagonist Vigilante's Guy Fawkes mask as their symbol after the release of this movie. It shows the impact of this film on the general public concerning perception, personality, and motivation.


V As a Visionary

V For Vendetta depicts a futuristic situation in Britain where V has to use radical tactics to fight the oppressive fascist state to regain the state’s freedom. Another main character of the story is Evey, a young woman who is rescued by V from a critical life-and-death condition. Finch is the police inspector who traces the identity of V but eventually helps Evey to fulfill V’s mission. V wears a mask throughout the movie, but he is very persuasive regarding leadership quality and motivation. His impressive voice and eloquence are his primary weapons. He employs a multi-pronged strategy to overthrow the government. The film altogether deserves appreciation concerning direction and plot.

The leader V is a visionary because he is skeptical, determined, critical, independent, and stubborn all at the same time. He has a great zeal for his principles and purposes. He is committed to going ahead with his mission although he is well aware of the consequences. He is courageous enough to criticize the government. “Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression; And where once you had the freedom to object. , ……… you now have censors and surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting submission” (V for Vendetta).

Though V is attempting to overthrow a fascist dominion, he is himself a chaotic character. Hence, only a brilliant director like McTeigue can make people accept a hero who wears the terrorist Guy Fawkes's mask.

V As A Conceptualizer

V has a conceptualizer trait because V is innovative, individualistic, and at the same time neglects the routine way of life. About his behavior, he is an extrovert, agreeable, and emotionally stable character. For instance, he is very assertive and warm, and empathetic, and at the same time self-confident. He remains undercover not because he is afraid, but this is to give more emphasis to the ideas he conveys. Unlike the ordinary civilians, V does not stay silent when he is deprived of freedom and justice. He remains emotionally stable even when he knows that the entire force is against him. V has compassion for the needy, and he rescues Evey from death. The character of V reminds us the quote of Gladwell (2008), "great leaders are the beneficiaries of hidden advantages, and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot” (p.11).

Good leaders always use appropriate intervention strategies to resolve conflicts. It is essential to identify and resolve disputes on time to improve cohesion. A real leader must be unbiased while addressing arguments. V shows that only skilled and emotionally intelligent people can lead a modern society successfully.


The Theory of Perception Applied In V For Vendetta

The director has employed specific ‘ideas of perception’ in this movie, especially in setting the persuasive speech scene of V over the public television. Vigilante appears on the screen wearing the Guy Fawkes mask and starts his speech when viewers including the people at the helm of affairs get astonished. Body language is the most important element that determines the effectiveness of a speech. However, the director has employed other filming techniques to arouse feelings when keeping V undercover. The sound is the most important element utilized here. V’s sound is awe-inspiring and persuading. Speech is very cohesive and authentic despite its rebellious content. V’s perception is unique when compared to other civilians of the city. People are accustomed to the tyrant government and its atrocities. The speech creates multiple responses in the viewers. However, only the officials are getting troubled as they are his targets. The facial expressions of the public show that they are highly curious and surprised by this unbelievable act. It seems that these were the ideas they wanted to speak out, but had buried in their souls for fear.

‘Target’ and ‘situation’ are the two elements that influence the viewers’ perception in this context. Target is the authoritarian regime which already has several reasons against it. The disesteem of the government makes the speech significant, and this also influences perception. The theory is that “the relationship of a target to its background influences perception” (Langton, Robbins & Judge, p. 39). The situation of the speech is also critical because it is delivered in the evening when all are free after a messy day. Here people have an open mind and sufficient time to listen to the speech. These ideas of perception equally influence the listeners of the speech in the movie and the viewers of the film.

V For Vendetta (2005)
Hugo Weaving
Natalie Portman
Alan Moore, David Lloyd
The Wachowski Brothers
Joel Silver & Crew

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V As A Motivator

V’s approach to motivation works to a great extent. His speech and subsequent rebellious actions encourage people to embrace his ideology. The city plunges into chaos, and the V's distribution of thousands of Guy Fawkes masks in the city intensifies it further. The police chief officer Creedy offers V that he would hand over Sutler in exchange for V's surrender. Though Creedy executes Sutler, V refuses to surrender and gets shot by the crew. When V dies, Evey takes up the mission with the permission of the Inspector Finch, and destroys the parliament by releasing the explosive-laden train against it. Although Finch asks Evey for the identity of V, she says "He was all of us." V’s motivational strategy, especially the speech he delivered at the British Television seems very effective. He concludes the speech as; “so if you've seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest that you allow the 5th of November to pass unmarked. ………..and if you would seek as I seek...then I ask you to stand beside me, one year from tonight outside the gates of Parliament” (V for Vendetta). According to the motivational theories, the performance of a person depends on the level of motivation he/she gets.
In total, V is a leader in every sense albeit his subversive ideology. The way he perceives the nation’s stature is unique. He has developed his perception of freedom and justice and has the potential to make people see things the same way. Successful leaders take advantage of various factors other than their struggle to be successful. Great leaders are not born; they are the products of circumstances. This idea along with multiple theories of leadership provides us with valuable insights. As the trait theory of leadership points out, great leaders possess some unique features or traits. Such traits range from achievement drive, leadership motivation, honesty and integrity, self-confidence, cognitive ability, emotional maturity, and charisma.

© 2018 Paul Joseph


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