Winston Smith: A True Hero

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From the dawn of humanity to the modern age of today, discrete generations of heroes have risen one after another in completely different time periods. Yet despite all the drastic changes throughout history, the definition of a hero has nevertheless managed to be preserved: an individual who exhibits exemplary courage and noble qualities for others to emulate. In the novel 1984, the protagonist, Winston Smith, embodies numerous characteristics that can be argued to be heroic as he pursues the perilous endeavor of undermining the totalitarian state of “The Party”. However, the fact Winston ultimately fails in providing any meaningful resistance to the Party’s dystopian society is what prevents his character from being elevated to the status…show more content…
While his courage in rebelling against the potency of the Party can be admired, the method he chooses to employ in order to achieve his goal is not only morally reprehensible, but also very non-heroic. For example, in his discourse with O’Brien, Winston declares he is “prepared to commit murder…to commit acts of sabotage which may cause the death of hundreds of innocent people [and] to throw sulphuric acid in a child’s face” if it meant weakening the power of the Party (179-180). True heroes like Beowulf and Odysseus would never commit such unethical and detestable acts even if it meant succeeding. Winston’s decision to do so demonstrates he is just an ordinary human whose conscience can be easily clouded in the wake of adversity. (possible…show more content…
His ultimate failure to shed light into the darkness of his dystopian society in addition to his character flaws is what really impedes him from being recognized as a hero. Readers do not remember Winston for his courage in actually undertaking the treacherous act of rebelling against the Party’s authority, but rather his failure allows them to only remember his character flaws which almost seem to have destined him for failure. That is, in the totalitarian state of Oceania, there can be no heroes because are humans are only meant to be controlled like mindless drones. This assertion is clear in the final moments of the novel as Winston sits emotionless in Chestnut Tree Café facing the reality of the world – one where heroes are
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