1984: Dictatorships Destroy The Capacity To Think English Essay

1406 words - 6 pages

Nineteen Eighty-Four demonstrates that dictatorships can only exist by destroying people’s capacity to think. To what extent do you agree.
In 1984, George Orwell portrays the Party’s totalitarianism and absolute rulership as a futuristic-dystopian dictatorship. Orwell’s 1984 exhibits a rare success story of a totalitarianism government being able to hold onto absolute power despite resistance among their citizens. Orwell demonstrates through 1984 that dictatorships can only exist by the destruction of an individual’s capacity to think independently as this then eradicates their self-will to survive outside a dictatorship.
To begin with, Orwell’s 1984 government, known as ‘the Party’, is only able to succeed in its dictatorship because it destroys people’s capacity to think. The Party begins the process of destroying people’s ability to think by themselves by completely erasing the past and removing it from their memories. Orwell’s sagacity in his statement of ‘whoever controls the past controls the future: whoever controls the present controls the past’ demonstrates the need for a dictatorship to be all-powerful and all-controlling. Orwell illustrates that the very basis of a dictatorship is power and control and both should correlate with each other in order to control the present, therefore, controlling the past and future. Power being ‘collective’ means that an individual only has power so far as he ‘ceases to be an individual’. Power itself is ‘power over human beings’ and the way which the Party collects power is by grouping its citizens together. When the Party has power, it has control because power is collective and the Party dictates those who are in their group; those who willingly give the Party power by submission to their ‘orthodoxy’. ‘Power over matter’ is not as important as the Party already has ‘control over matter’. The Party being able to ‘control matter’ comes from their ability to ‘control the mind’ because the Party has power over an individual’s ‘body, but above all, over the mind’. By having both power and control, the Party then begins to erase the past from the minds of all citizens because they have power and control over them. Even if citizens are resistant against the Party, the Party is still able to erase the past from their minds – should a citizen ever arose suspicion in his difference of memory, the Party is able to ‘unperson’ or ‘vaporise’ a person, preventing them from further spreading ‘unorthodox’ ideals. The Party can do this without any questioning because the Party ‘owns everything in Oceania’ as and can ‘dispose of the product [person, object or even the past] as it thinks fit’, which further exemplifies the amount of power and control they garner. Orwell emphasises the significance of having power and control and demonstrates the first step in the destruction of destroying one’s capacity to think: to first have supreme control and power over not just the people who willingly follow the Party, but the...

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