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Suppression of Freedom in 1984 and Equilibrium

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“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes” By Rowan Axelsen

Throughout George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four novel and Kurt Wimmer’s Equilibrium film, power and control are maintained by totalitarian governments who regulate all aspects of the dystopian society. This makes the audience think and try to prevent future damages that could happen in the real world.

During both dystopian fictions we can see that the main characters have experienced emotion which shows how they lost individuality and freedom through a world where people were banished for saying wrong words, having facial expression and working against their god, which showed that every individual was being controlled by a dictator. The leaders of these nations provoked many citizens to show love more towards the government than each other. Through advanced technology, sense of police and restrictions on showing emotions. The propaganda and technology which is seen within the fictions describes how the civilisations live and how their lives and individuality are being controlled by the leaders.

George Orwell’s novel 1984 Kurt Wimmer’s describes, a world in which the citizens are being suppressed by the power of technology, the Party uses technology in an effective way. In 1984 the Party’s most distinguished technological weapon is the telescreen, a two-way television, the telescreen is a surveillance device which the Party also uses a technology which evaporates the prisoner the means by which the government executes those who displease it. Furthermore, in Equilibrium the government of Libria uses technology to create a drug “Prozium” which suppresses their emotions to a minimum and using holograms to show Dupont to be the larger figure in society and by using the polygraph test to see if the individual is feeling.

Throughout the novel 1984 Telescreens are the key for to keep order within Oceania these type of technology is useful as the device emits speeches to the individual and looks for contraband items and is another way for the thought police to look into their lives. Like the image of Big Brother, telescreens are everywhere in Oceania. While Winston’s description of these screens brings to mind a television, the fact that citizens cannot turn them off shows that the telescreens are yet another form of control. The telescreens are on all the time so that the citizens of Oceania can stay informed but rather so that Party members can monitor people’s behaviour. While it seems unlikely that someone is npaying close attention to every single person’s activity at every single moment, the possibility always exists, and so everyone must act according to the Party’s rules. This way, even if no one is watching the telescreen from the other side, the presence of the telescreens ensures that no one will act against the Party. Winston describes in this (Quote 1) passage how difficult it is for him to restrain his private, inward thoughts from appearing on his face. If you harbor ill thoughts toward the powerful, omnipotent government, you'll always have to keep your guard up when you're in public. It's even more difficult to blend in when you know your every action is being scrutinized. By emphasizing the correlation between Winston's inner thoughts and the expression on his face. The party has a special type of weapon which is used to vaporise/execute a prisoner or citizen who is displease the government. Technology is used far throughout this novel the idea of technology suppressing humanity, a direct quote from George Orwell (Quote 2) describes how reality messes with a human mind the use of the telescreens influence their lives. The Party’s uses technology to supress the world they have ultimate power over humanity and the effectiveness of their surveillance techniques.

‘It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in a public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself – anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face was itself a punishable offense.’

The film Equilibrium shows a drug which is called prozium this drug is required to be taken several times a day by all members of this society.? These drug was created by the use of technology to suppresses human emotion. Anger, hate, love, sadness, joy and substantially more. When on this drug people do not feel. Along with Prozium they have outlawed all forms of music, art, books, and anything else that would tempt people to indulge in emotion again. In the film Father spoke about how he cured the disease of human emotion, he continues to go on about how he created the drug prozium to prevent another war and to keep peace between humankind.(Quote 3). The main protagonist John Preston stopped taking the drug because he accidentally broke his daily vial of Prozium but is unable to replace it before going on the next raid. He begins to experience brief episodes of emotion that evoke memories, stir feelings and make him more aware of his surroundings; he intentionally skips more doses of Prozium and hides them behind the mirror in his bathroom. Preston is informed that a search of his home will take place as a formality. He rushes home to destroy the hidden vials only to find his son, who had taken them from behind the mirror of were Preston had hidden all of his other vials which he did not take, his son and daughter had stopped taking their prozium vials after their mother was executed. The Prozium drug was furthermore distributed with everyone within the society of Libria.

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The disease is human emotion. But Libria, I congratulate you, for there is a cure for this disease. At the cost of the dizzying highs of human emotion, we have suppressed its abysmal lows. And you, as a society, have embraced this cure: Prozium. Now we are at peace with ourselves and humankind is one. War is gone.

1984 and Equilibrium shows a significant amount of propaganda. This propaganda is seen as a communication device which is used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda. 1984 propaganda is controlled by the INGSOC they use the poster which has the face of the saviour ‘Big Brother’. The motivation of the two-minute hate is to allow the citizens of Oceania otherwise known as proles express their existential anguish and personal hatreds towards the political enemies: Goldstein and other enemies of Oceania (Eurasia and Eastasia). Equilibrium shows speeches from ‘Father’ every minute of every day his speeches are there to condition the population of Libria to tell them that it is time for them to take the prozium drug again to suppress their emotions.

The Two Minutes Hate is designed to use the collective rage of the people against supposed 'enemies of the Party' The ritual serves to unify the people in the observance of the ritual. It also serves the purpose of religious observance by deifying Big Brother. This is very similar to what some politicians do to strengthen their position when they feel threatened. Big Brother is proclaimed to be benevolent and good; any enemy is automatically evil and bad. While it is a 'two minutes hate' the desired end result is less hatred of Big Brother. In Quote 4 they describe the “two minutes hate” as an impossible to avoid screaming and getting angry at political opposition. The INGSOC uses a Banner of Big Brother who is the intended saviour of Oceania against their enemies Eurasia and Eastasia, the images of Big Brother show the intended face of the ‘Saviour’ who does looks like the dictator Adolf Hitler. Image one has a caption which is bolder than Big Brother, ‘Watching You’ describes how the telescreens are being used to monitor potential threats towards Big Brother such as Goldstein. Goldstein is portrayed as the big bad enemy who created the brotherhood which is helping to destroy the current regime.

'The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in.'

The movie Equilibrium starts with a grand emotion of the society which is built upon dictatorship. We see images of political figures- Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussein, and even Adolf Hitler, in hands with symbols that are very similar to Swastika as used by Nazi government. The power that is repeatedly expressed through the film's symmetry is that of one man, one dictator - the 'Father' The lack of humane, emotive qualities in the filmed environments emphasizes the emotionless world that the citizens of Libria are forced to live in. The appearance of emotion and rebellion in the film brings about chaos, for example as the cleric runs through crowds. The film emphasis on the advertisements of a singular thought which spoken to the people by father on the minds of the people. Every screen in the film is playing the same, or continuation of the same video. This washes the characters with on monolithic image of 'the drug' that seems to be the only thing on citizens’ minds. Quote 5 describes how the mankind would never be united because of peace and that the purpose of have war was to assure that the world could work together in difficult times. Propaganda h is seen throughout the film, it describes how having a war creates mankind to have a infinitely greater purpose rather than have peace.

“Mankind united with infinitely greater purpose in pursuit of war than he ever did in pursuit of peace.”

These dystopian titles are describing what our world will look like within the next 100 years, people are currently trying to stop the persecution of race, religious beliefs, and political hostility towards the citizens of major countries. Current countries experience persecution of their race and religious beliefs and political hostility China and North Korea supress their countries with the power of technologies which we can see the growing rate of surveillance which we can see throughout their countries, (CCTV/Military drones and Satellites and civilian drones/ cameras/ phone and laptop cameras). Orwell created 1984 to warn us about the power of technology which is being created worldwide; he is suggesting that the human mind is the most dangerous and advanced weapon of all time and is saying that we should never underestimate the ability of people to control themselves. Equilibrium’s relevance is that the creation of drugs which are clearly seen within film are managing to control their lives; their emotions have been suppressed to a halt; they do not feel the pain nor the suffering. If the world mass produced this drug the world would be dead, the joy and happiness which has come from the freedom on which we already have. The relevancy.

In conclusion 1984 and Equilibrium show a rather terrifying sight of which the author and director thought about While there is Father and a Big Brother, and their regime is a contributor to the uprising as more people are learning the truth and become resistant to what is being done to humanity and civilisation. Both main protagonists try to become a part of the Brotherhood (1984 Resistance) and the Underground (Equilibrium Resistance), they joined an uprising even though they worked for the highest ranked people. As the protagonists begin to feel the realisation, they start to understand the beauty of life that people are no longer exposed to, while seeking to put an end to the suppression of humanity. The totalitarian governments controlled all aspects of both dystopian society the world which we currently live try to prevent damages like these so that the world can live in freedom.

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Suppression of Freedom in 1984 and Equilibrium. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 30, 2023, from
“Suppression of Freedom in 1984 and Equilibrium.” Edubirdie, 08 Jul. 2022,
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Suppression of Freedom in 1984 and Equilibrium [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 08 [cited 2023 Nov 30]. Available from:
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