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The only verdict is vengeance.
~ V

V is the titular main protagonist of the dystopian graphic novel V for Vendetta and its 2005 film adaptation of the same name. He was deliberately created to be a character that could be viewed either as a hero or villain depending on the personal feelings of the reader/viewer: which Moore believed was an important aspect of the story he was trying to tell.

To many, V is an incredibly dangerous but ultimately heroic freedom-fighter and protagonist, fighting to free the world from the oppression of the fascist and tyrannical Norsefire organization (who parallel in many ways the Nazi Party at the height of their power): yet V, in the original comic, was more of a terrorist anarchist using far more brutal means.

In the film adaptation, V was portrayed by Hugo Weaving, who also portrayed Agent Smith in The Matrix and its sequels and Red Skull in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

History

Very little is known about V, with one of the exceptions being he has a background in the military. Early in his life, V was captured and put in Larkhill retirement camp in room V (probably how he got his name) where he is experimented on and tortured. While there, the woman held captive in the cell next to his,  Valerie Page, had written her life story on toilet paper about how she was captured and tortured for being a lesbian, and passes the message through the wall connecting theirs. She was executed later. This broke V, and he burnt down the camp and escaped, but not before getting badly burnt himself in the process. It's implied that the experiments also had an effect on his mind.

At the beginning of the graphic novel, V comes to save Evey Hammond after she is nearly beaten and raped by three of Norsefire's "fingermen". Taking her into his care in The Shadow Gallery, V then goes after and captures Lewis Prothero, the former commandant of the camp and the voice for Norsefire's computer FATE, and drives him insane. He later seeks out the sadistic pedophile Bishop Anthony Lilliman and, with Evey's help, entraps him and forces him to consume a cyanide-laced communion wafer. Finally, he seeks out Delia Surridge and, because she was remorseful for her actions, gives her a peaceful death via lethal injection. 

It is shown that he has been systematically killing all those involved at Larkhill with the exception of Prothero who remains incurably insane. He also broadcasts a message over the nation's communications with the declaration that every citizen is at fault for permitting the Norsefire government to step in.

Over time, he begins to groom Evey into becoming a successor after initially throwing her out for questioning him if he could be her father or not. However, his method of doing so entails kidnapping her while disguised as Norsefire agents and torturing her for information on the threat of death. When Evey chooses to die over revealing anything or pledging loyalty to Norsefire, V reveals himself and declares her to now be closer to understanding true freedom. Despite her initial hesitation, Evey ultimately dons a Guy Fawkes mask and cloak as his ally.

In the underground tunnel, V prepares a subway train full of explosives to crash upon his future command. This train is discovered by Detective Eric Finch, who manages to shoot and fatally wound V. In his final words, V requests that Evey continue on and that she give him a "Viking funeral". Understanding, Evey places V's still masked and cloaked body in a glass coffin aboard the train and sends it forth, crashing and exploding at its designated point. As the new V, Evey then takes in a young Norsefire agent with the intent of training him.

V is also shown singing a song called "This Vicious Cabaret" which details his intents as the story develops. This fits rather well with his theatrical nature.

Personality

V is an enigmatic figure who speaks eloquently. He is impeccably sophisticated, obsequious, and talkative, with an exceptionally wide vocabulary, and particularly showing a fondness for quoting Shakespeare, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of old English literature. Also, V loves to act with a flair of theatrics. For example, as he abducts Prothero, he ushers the man through a stage-like setup of Larkhill while dressed in a clownish Vaudeville attire. In another particularly poignant scene, he stands before the statue of Lady Justice and enacts a pseudo-rendezvous between ex-lovers, declaring that he has found a new mistress in Anarchy after she "whored herself" to Norsefire and leaving Lady Justice a "farewell present" of an explosive.

In the film, V demonstrates an intense capacity for hatred underneath his serene exterior: while in captivity, V described hate as the only thing he seemed capable of - it fed him for years until he finally lost all capacity for fear, creating an unnervingly stoic manner. He is completely unfazed by physical threats from others, from being held at gunpoint by several armed men, to having explosives strapped to him.

He is completely calm, reserved, and unexcitable in nature, and never loses his temper once throughout his appearance, and even when in intense pain he speaks softly and calmly. V was also pathologically obsessive and psychopathic, and his one and true goal throughout the story is to avenge himself upon key members of Norsefire. However, he has an incredible ability for justifying his actions, and throughout he truly believes that what he is doing is right and that the men he is fighting are evil and deserving of his vengeance. He is capable of love, despite his ruthless and almost emotionless character, and though he cannot remember anything that happened to him before his captivity he describes Evey as his one true love. After the confrontation between him and Evey in which he tries to justify himself and she storms off, V is shown breaking down, unmasked, and sobbing.

V is shown to have a rather playful side to his personality, mock-duelling a suit of armour with a sword whilst watching his favourite film, The Count of Monte Christo.

Powers and Abilities

Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr Creedy. And ideas are bulletproof.
~ V, showing his impressive willpower.
V himself demonstrates an intelligence in varied subjects. In his time as The Man in Room V, he was able to escape by combining common garden chemicals to explode his cell. Since his time in Larkhill, V has developed an incredible athleticism in addition to furthering his intellect with knowledge and written materials banned by the Norsefire government. He is incredibly skilled in all forms of ranged and close-quarters combat, ranging from knives to swords, as well as blade throwing.

In the film, he is physically superhuman due to experiments at Larkhill, allowing him to easily overpower people or send them flying through the air with his attacks. He is also highly resilient, as he was barely slowed down by being shot multiple times, allowing him to kill multiple men effortlessly before collapsing and succumbing to his wounds minutes later. 

Quotes

"Voila! In view humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the “vox populi” now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin, van guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition.
The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.
Verily this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honour to meet you and you may call me V". -
V introducing himself to Evey.

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

"I told you, only truth. For twenty years I sought only this day. Nothing else existed....until I saw you. Then everything changed. I fell in love with you, Evey. Like I no longer believed I could.(Evey:V, I don't want you to die) That is the most beautiful thing you could have ever given me.-V's last words as he dies in Evey's arms.


Gallery

Trivia

  • In popular culture, V has become the unofficial mascot of Chan culture as well as the wider "Anonymous" movement, which in itself is seen as a controversy.
  • His favorite film is the Count of Monte Cristo.

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