Winston Smith: The Issue of Heroism by George Orwell Essay

May 17, 2022 by Essay Writer

Updated: Mar 15th, 2020

In his book 1984, George Orwell depicts the world of the future where society develops according to the principles of totalitarianism. Big Brother controls all the aspects of the people’s life in which there is no place for joy and pleasure. The depressing picture of the imagined future is presented as the context for Winston Smith’s rebellion against the totalitarian party and Big Brother.

In spite of the fact, Winston is inclined to rebel against the authorities and regime, his character cannot be discussed as heroic because Winston’s will is weak, his fears are stronger than his intentions, and his plan is not realized because the character begins to share the ideals of Big Brother.

Winston Smith is a rather controversial character whose position and actions cannot be discussed only from one perspective. Thus, a lot of actions performed by Winston cannot be discussed by readers as heroic. During the main part of his life, Winston does not reject the totalitarian ideals of the society in which he lives.

Despite the fact that Winston’s responsibilities were a falsification of the data according to the party’s needs, his “greatest pleasure in life was in his work” (Orwell 38). Winston does not agree with the social situation, and one day his opposite position becomes obvious. It is the stage of rebelling the unfair regime and the path to the victory of freedom.

Nevertheless, bravery and aggression of Winston associated with his rebellion cannot be discussed as the heroic features because he cannot cope with his fears.

At the final stages of his personal rebellion, Winston suffers from significant fears to be caught, and these fears acquire the features of paranoia. Having written “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER” in the diary, he cannot feel protected anymore (Orwell). These fears cannot be typical for the classical hero.

Winston is also vulnerable regarding his relations with Julia. Love makes the character extremely weak, and his stubborn spirit cannot struggle with his feelings. From this point, Winston can be discussed as rather naïve. Although Winston is preoccupied with the ideals of truth and freedom, his will is suppressed by stronger O’Brien. The moment of joining the Brotherhood becomes the beginning of Winston’s failure as the hero.

Thus, Winston began to lose his strength when he “heard himself promising to lie, to steal, to forge, to murder, to encourage drug-taking and prostitution, to disseminate venereal diseases, to throw vitriol in a child’s face” (Orwell 270). Winston suffers from the lack of the attributes necessary for a real hero. If the intentions of the character can be considered as the instances of heroism, his actions are controversial and not logical.

The character of Winston Smith is not an example of the hero according to George Orwell’s focus on the man who can rebel without references to the possible unsuccessful results. Winston cannot follow his ideals until the end because of a lot of fears which prevent him from acting not eccentrically but rationally.

Such literary character as Winston is the representative of an ordinary man who decides to rebel against the totalitarian system, but Winston has no qualities which can make people follow his ideals. Instead, Winston begins following the ideals of Big Brother. That is why heroism of Winston Smith is rather questionable.

Works Cited

Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. USA: Penguin Books Limited, 2004. Print.

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