The Number 5 in "V For Vendetta"

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There are numerous references throughout V for Vendetta to the number 5 and letter V, which is itself “5” in Roman numerals:

-The character V is seen reading and quoting from Thomas Pynchon‘s novel, V., and listening to Beethoven’s fifth symphony.

-The piece’s famous leitmotif, occuring most prominently throughout the first movement – with three short notes and one long – can represent the morse code identifier for the letter V. This code was used as a call sign by the BBC during World War II.

-When V confronts Creedy in Creedy’s greenhouse, he begins playing the fifth symphony as well.

-Beethoven himself used to refer to those opening notes as ‘Fate knocking on the door’. ‘Fate’ is the name of the supercomputer belonging to the Leader, Adam Susan in the novel.

-V introduces himself to Evey with a five-syllable phrase: “You may call me V.” A large part of V’s speech is in iambic pentameter, which is comprised of five iambs.

-The phrase “Remember, remember, the fifth of November” is referenced. This is the first line of a nursery rhyme detailing the exploits of Guy Fawkes. The full rhyme is, ‘Remember, remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder, treason and plot. I know of no reason, why the gunpowder treason, should ever be forgot.’

-Evey’s name—”Evey” —is actually composed of “E” (the fifth letter of the alphabet), “V” (5 in Roman numerals, and the fifth letter from the end of the alphabet), and “Y” (25th letter of the alphabet, or 5 squared).

-V is eventually identified as the prisoner from Room 5 at Larkhill Internment Camp. The five doors are labeled with Roman numerals, so Room 5 is emblazoned with a “V”.

-In numerous apartment scenes, V is filmed stationary with his arms slightly apart from his body, forming an inverted V
“5” converted to binary numerals is “101”, so “Room 5” is “Room 101”. This is an allusion to the infamous torture chamber in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

-V’s hideout is accessed from the closed Victoria tube station, the damaged sign of which resembles a sideways V when Finch locates it.
-V’s personal motto consists of the Latin phrase Vi Veri Vniversum Vivus Vici (By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe), which in turn consists of five words that begin with the letter V (“U” is written as “V” in Latin). In the comic, and consequently in the movie, it was wrongly spelled “Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici”

-“V for Vendetta” has 5 syllables.

-November is the only month in the Gregorian calendar with the letter V in it.

-The woman who dies in the cell next to that of V at Larkhill is named Valerie Page. The name “Valerie” begins with the letter V.
-As Evey appears to give her speech to the public after she has assumed the identity of V, the visual angle of the frame causes a V to be formed between the edges of the building she is standing on and the building behind her.

-In the comic, when he’s about to send off the train filled with explosives, V asks Evey to give him a viking funeral. Viking starts with the letter V. Vikings believed they would be sent to Valhalla, by Valkyries. Furthermore, the Vikings believed in two god families : the Aesir and their rivals, the Vanir (notice, once again, the letter V – besides, both “Aesir” and “Vanir” are written with five letters).

-After being shot multiple times, killing Creedy and his men, and removing the steel plate from under his cloak, V staggers off and leans against a wall for a second in pain. The blood mark he leaves on the wall is in the shape of a “V”.

This all draws on The Law of Fives, in particular how it was expressed in The Illuminatus! Trilogy [3] specifically:

“And everything really follows the Fives’ law?” Joe asked.

“More than you guess,” Dillinger remarked blandly.

“Even when you’re dealing with social fields, ” Simon added. “We’ve run studies of cultures where the Illuminati were not in control, and they still follow Weishaupt’s five-stage pattern: Verwirrung, Zweitracht, Unordnung, Beamtenherrschaft and Grummet.”

“Hell,” Simon said, “look what Beethoven did when Weishaupt illuminated him. Went right home and wrote the Fifth Symphony. You know how it begins: da-da-da-DUM. Morse code for V – the Roman numeral for five”[6]
Morse Code was not used until the 1840s; well after Beethoven’s death in 1827. Furthermore, the 5th symphony was composed between 1804-1806 in Beethoven’s “middle period”. Any correlation to the Morse Code equivalent in this case has to be strictly coincidence, as the “short-short-short-long” or “…_” of LVB’s 5th is precedental of Samuel Morse’s code. For all we know it could’ve been the reason why “V” gets this value in Morse Code.

Two of the five stages mentioned are alluded to in V’s speech at the start of Book 3 Chapter 2: “Verwirrung”: “With anarchy comes an age of Ordnung, of true order which is to say voluntary order. This age of Ordung [sic] will begin when the mad and incoherent cycle of Verwirrung… has run its course.”

The Law of Fives is often considered to have a corollary in the 23 Enigma (2+3=5) and 23 also crops up when Bishop Lilliman recites Psalm 23 before he gets killed (Book 1, Chapter 8).

Taken from Wikipedia’s entry on “V For Vendetta

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