In “1984” George Orwell described the future world society Oceania as a totalitarian hierarchic regime based on refined physical and spiritual enslavement. In his novel the author gives a harsh negative review to the totalitarian regime, which in his opinion presents a serious threat to the existing society and the whole world. That is why the story of the novel happens in the real world capital London, and not in the made up country. This structure is shot through by the overall fear and hatred, where the people do not live in a full sense but merely exist under the weariless vigil of the Big Brother. The Big Brother, however, could not be seen by anyone. In this way the writer indicates that even the existence of the leader may be a myth, a convenient fiction called to strengthen the existing system. The thought police are listening to every word and are watching every movement. Winston can see the backside of its building from his window with its party slogans: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength (3).”
According to Orwell, psychological enslavement was the key to success of the tyranny. In his novel “1984” he is describing in detail how the government was able to convince its citizens to subdue to the absolute power. A non-stop propaganda was being produced for ‘proles’, ordinary people, and they were consuming it with no questions asked, especially when it had to do with various never-ending wars that the government was waging for its own abstruse and unstated reasons. Winston could not even remember the time when the country wouldn’t be at war. The country’s ally and enemy had never officially changed. The party kept saying that Oceania had never entered any unions with the Eurasia. However, Winston knew that Oceania was partnering with Eurasia only four years ago. But where is this knowledge buried? It is only in his mind, and that is why he will be destroyed sooner or later in this way or another. (Orwell 23). If everyone is accepting the lie imposed by the party, then this lie resides in the history and becomes the truth.
The novel depicts a social disease that is deeply rooted in the atmosphere of the 20th century and is revealed in various ways each time. Yet, it is the same disease that is killing any individuality in a person in a methodical way, and by doing that it strengthens the ruling ideology and power. It can be embodied in the power of the Big Brother that’s looking down from thousands of portraits, or in the power of anonymous bureaucracy. In one case it may be the ideology of Stalinism, or a doctrine of racial and national supremacy in the other, or a complex of aggressive technocratic ideas dreaming of overall robotic automation in the third scenario, yet, the principle remains. All of these assume the person is insignificant and the power is ultimate backed by ideological concepts that do not acknowledge any dialogues and rely on unquestioned dogmas. Smith considered proles to be the lowest cast of Oceania constituting 85 % of its population, capable of destroying the party. Proles did not even have TV’s in their houses as they were allowed to follow the ancient tradition in all questions of morality. Winston wrote in his diary that freedom is an opportunity to say that two times two is four (Orwell 55).
According to the logic of such system, the individual should be turned into a nothing like that of a camp dust, even if the freedom is still preserved formally. The power has to continuously assert itself on higher and higher levels each time, as it cannot create anything else but slavery and fear. It does not acknowledge any other values and interests above itself. Orwell’s Winston was tied to a chair while the cage with rats was put on a table in front of him. O’Brien knew of Winston’s panic fear of rats, he even knew of Winston’s nightmares about rats. Winston was holding up as long as he could until the cage was brought right to his face. He started crying but felt as if he saw everything happening from aside. He betrayed Julia, he begged them to take Julia instead and torture her with rats (Orwell, 200). After this Winston was promoted, he received a salary raise; he was left alone, now gin became his new obsession. When Winston ran into Julia he walked to her although he knew that he is not being watched any longer, they could even make love, but he did not have the drive any longer. Julia told him that she had betrayed him, and he told her that he betrayed her. Julia started thinking aloud that any person can be treated in such a way that they will even voluntarily betray another and Winston agreed with her.
Although usually the power is being made up to look like the victory of the intellect, justice and democracy, one of Orwell’s characters O’Brien, who was responsible for torturing and killing in the basements of the Ministry of Love, frankly stated the main motivation that moved the totalitarian idea: “The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power (185)”. The idea of presenting corrupt power as a victorious democracy and humankind accomplishment in the 20th century became the foundation for numerous utopias that later turned out to be a complete nightmare. Orwell described society that went exactly that way and it is quite recognizable as a model that later had many copies and imitations in real life. In his novel George Orwell was able to describe the world, in which all generally held values are turned upside down, are non-existent. However, the human nature is always looking for the ways to come out, break off any strings that are imposed onto the society in general, and each individual by the representatives of the inhuman regime with it unquestionable dictatorship of power.
1. Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. Penguin Group, 1949. Print.