Jungian Philosophy In V For Vendetta


Scientists have developed several explanations on how human beings and their inner thoughts work. The fact that human brains creates their personalities and determines whom they become remains an integral part of understanding humanity. Human brains tend to work in certain sequences and ways and scientists try to determine the sequences that are universal. Based on the differences in the way humans react to situations, scientists have tried to determine the different channels that can be used to ensure that the correct predictions about their behavior is made whenever the same is needed. One of the renowned scientists who worked on the psychoanalysis was Carl Jung.  With philosophies different from Freud’s, he developed his new view towards analyzing how human brain worked and how human beings started to understand themselves. His work can be applied in many fields including philosophy, social sciences among others. It has been used to analyze characters in books and films. This paper will provide an analysis of characters in the film V for Vendetta.

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Jungian Philosophy and Archetypes

In the course of his work, Jung developed archetypes that were based on their patterns, and how they are observed to appear. These archetypes are mainly in the form of thoughts and their patterns appear in different forms, varying ion location and the people to whom they occur. While the word type is used in this definition, it does not represent the existence of the archetypes in different people, but rather, Jung argued that they existed in all human beings at any given time (Jung 1964). Notably, all the archetypes he highlighted are identified through emotional reactions and the physical appearance of the individual. This is an indication that Jung perceived the sources of these archetypes to be ingrained in the origin of man as opposed to the development of societies individually. Jung also wondered why these archetypes are similar across societies that have evolved independently and without interference with any other. He concluded that there might be a bigger force that connects societies and humanity that is beyond human comprehension (Jung 1964). Jung highlighted the presence of four main archetypes that included:

  • The Shadow
  • The Anima
  • The Animus
  • The Self

The Shadow

According to Jung, the shadow is a reflection of the psyche that lies within us, and from the point where common latent dispositions in human beings may arise (Jung 1964). During the evolution of man, the shadow was separated from the self and the development remained different. The shadow is responsible for the animate behavior present in human beings and is portrayed through wild behavior and chaotic character (Jung 1964). Although it is not easy for an individual to see it within themselves, they can easily see it in other people. If this aspect of humanity was properly managed, and was carefully bound together by the new self, then the wholesome individuality may be achieved. The archetype is not pronounced and remains restrained and appears at certain times when triggered.  In many cases, the shadow appears when one’s senses are altered through administration of drugs, when an individual is in a state of confusion and when one is dazed. At this point, one is usually in a subconscious state and the shadow may become prominent. This archetype is very common to individuals and explains why people develop enemies, burst into wars and some people get wild. The shadow is the troublemaker in a human being and disregards the law thus create discord between human beings.

The Anima or Animus

The second and third archetypes that are basic across humanity are clustered into two, anima and animus (Jung 1964). The former represents females while the latter represents males. Jung argued that this archetype represents the soul of a human being, where one behaves like their true selves as opposed to the different personalities that people mask themselves with in their everyday activities. Through anima and animus, people can express their abilities through different skills and powers (Jung 1964). These archetypes shape the society and provide the social distinction between men and women. It makes people evaluate the capabilities of men and those of women and consequently assign roles to each of them. Despite this fact, Jung noted that an individual usually had both archetypes, although one had to be more pronounced than the other in order for them to assume their respective sexes. He argued that men inherited a certain dominant anima from female members of the society, while women too inherited an animus from the males. However, the animus inherited by women is regarded to be more complex and could be stratified into different levels and parts. The dominance of the specific archetype for the two sexes created the very practical world we live in today. On top of identifying the two archetypes individually, Jung created a combination of the two to represent the wholeness and completeness of the universe (Jung 1964). He dubbed the combination as syzygy which represents immense strengths. His perspective was that a combination of different powers or aspects would result to a stronger and more complete new part (Jung 1964). A good example of immense strength created by combination of several beings into one is the Holy Trinity in Christianity, which combines the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He further argued that for a man and a woman to form a strong relationship, their compatibility should go beyond physique aspects, but should also include the compatibility of the animus and anima. This is the only way that one could find their ‘soulmate’. This exercise of finding someone’s match both in physical and animus and anima aspects is nearly impossible and few people succeed. The relationships are formed on the basis of love and hope that one gets close enough to their respective perfect matches.

The Self

Jung perceived the self as a very strong and highly important archetype. It provides an individual with the sense of being and placement in the universe. He argued that the self transcends the individual in question and actually represents God (Jung 1964). It is the spirit that creates some connection between the unconsciousness and consciousness within an individual. The self is discovered in great levels of harmony and nirvana. The self is achieved through creation, in a process Jung referred to as individuation. This process represented the alienation of different parts of an individual from the rest of the world, consolidating them into one strong being. Although the word rebirth has been widely used in various contexts, Jung defined it as the process of consolidating oneself to return to the status of birth. He noted that human beings had a tendency of splitting themselves into different parts which reverses the process of individuation.

Other Archetypes

Jung added several other archetypes that included family archetypes, story archetypes and animal archetypes.

Analysis of V for Vendetta in Jungian Perspective

In order to provide a complete analysis of the film and the identification of the different archetypes, Jungian analysis will be employed. It is mainly conducted on people while during their subconscious.  Importantly, Jung argued that state of subconscious and mainly sleep compensates attitude. They enable an individual to add another point of view to their conscious point of view, through their subconscious. They therefore try to reconcile the conscious and the subconscious, thus appreciating the shadow. Through active imagination, amplification and explication, he portrayed the different methods that one can reconcile conscious and subconscious. Some of these features have been extensively used in the film, V for Vendetta. One of the most pronounced archetypes in the film is the shadow. Both the government and the team trying to liberate London from the bondage of poor governance and oppression use violent means to achieve their contrasting goals. The government had been involved in destruction of the rest of the world using nuclear weapons and Britain had become a dictatorship, where the military ruled and oppressed citizens. The minority groups who included blacks and homosexuals were mainly the victims (Moore & David 2005).

The military efforts were guided by the feeling that they needed to retain power at whatever cost. This triggered their animate behavior that led to their violence and cruel descending on minorities. On the other hand, V had been held in a camp where he was subjected to torture and experimentation. After his escape, he set off a destruction spree, destroying the parliament and ensured that government systems no longer worked. In both cases, the willingness to participate in violent attacks against each other was instilled at a time when there was little or no law and order. They were aroused during unconscious coercion into the new traits. V had been held in torture and slowly turned violent and was full of Vendetta. The same case applied to Evey. After her newly found love in Gordon was killed, the shadow in her was activated and she decided to revenge on his boyfriend’s behalf. When V was killed, she decided to change and become the new V and try to complete the work that they had started, which made her violent and disobedient to the laws, and her only desire was to achieve the revenge and liberate the people. Furthermore, Rosemary Almond remained oppressed but lost her endurance and killed the Leader, who had killed her husband and retained her in oppression (Moore & David 2005).

In all the cases, the people who turned violent had been triggered. The process of activating their shadowy side was mainly through active imagination, where they set goals and imagined how the world they lived in would be like if they achieved their goals. The period through which they were subjected to dire conditions such as torture and distress due to killing of their loved ones was the transition period during which their conscious met their subconscious. The transitions that befell Evey during her life manifested both the shadow in her and the animus/anima archetypes. Socially, characteristics of physical struggle are left to male individuals while females are left with more tender and less physically tasking roles. However, Jung noted that males possess female anima which affects them to certain degrees (Jung 1964). He noted that males possessed only one form of animus. On the other hand, females inherit complex form of animus from males. This can be manifested by the ability of a woman, with all her anima, managing to step into the roles of a man. Evey stepped into the role of V and transformed herself into him and eventually achieved his goals (Moore & David 2005).

The goals were to be achieved through immense struggles and painful wars, but the animus in Evey enabled her to maneuver the entire process. When V started his war, he was alone but upon meeting Evey, he recruited her through torturous methods to help him liberate Britain. He understood the importance of bringing together forms to make a strong and more able body. This combination can be referred to as Syzygy. It can be best described by this team formed by V and Evey. In order to achieve the state of completeness, the self must have the conscious and the subconscious coming together and reconciling (Jung 1964). It also makes an individual bring out their connection with nature and individuate to create a different entity from the rest of the universe. However, the attachment remains strong and the innate willingness to be good to nature becomes strong and motivating. Despite going through torture, V was more concerned with creating a better world for the people. He was not just guided by vendetta against the people who tortured him, but his connection with nature showed him that he needed to do more to improve the way life was for all the people especially the oppressed minorities. He went through the process of individuation when he isolated himself from all the other parts and made a decision to save the country on his own. Although he recruited Evey, he had decided to stand up on his own and make the world better. The same case applied to Evey. She had reasons to revenge against the government, but her main drive was to complete the course that V and her had already started. The connection between her and nature was strong enough to make her follow the dangerous path through which she risked her life. For one to achieve a new self, one has to undergo the process of individuation and rebirth, where they shed off all the parts that they have developed in the course of their lives (Jung 1964).

It would take a whole process where the developed parts are brought together, including the conscious and subconscious. This process demands for a change in everyday life where one is taught the new roles and develops the necessary characteristics to face the world differently. Evey was taken to prison by V to prepare her to fight for the nation (Moore & David 2005). The period in prison was a reconciliation of conscience and subconscious, aided by the environment and the letter she found in the prison. The letter had been written by Valerie Page and helped her realize that she had the obligation to stand strongly against oppression and propaganda. These important aspects guided her thinking and decision making, hardening her resolve to a point that she would chose death to giving false information. At this point, she had developed relationship with nature that obliged her to do good and work for the good of the people rather than for herself as an individual.


The study of how humans work remains complex and a lot more could be done to demystify the human being even further. Jung and Sigmund Freud are the two main psychoanalysts whose principles have been followed for many years. Jung attributed some of the natural processes as possibly too complex for human beings to comprehend, leaving them to divine powers. These are important lines of research that could give more intriguing results. However, Jung has done well in creating his theories and trying to fit them in the people’s lives. The success of his work can be seen through the ability to analyze a piece of artistic work using his ideas and concepts regarding humanity. The basic explanation over archetypes as well as classifying them into three is a good step in ensuring that human selves and thinking patterns are understood. The process of creating the archetypes are also well elaborate and although there are a few issues that could be made clearer through further research, Jung did well in creating modern analytical psychotherapy. {t_essay_1}

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