Totalitarianism and Individualism Unveiled: Hobbes and Orwell

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Özen Baykent U.

Kaygı. Uludağ Üniversitesi Fen-Edebiyat Fakültesi Felsefe Dergisi, vol.22, no.2, pp.648-659, 2023 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier


George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four holds significant importance today partly because it remains relevant to contemporary society and partly because it warns the societies against totalitarianism. On the other hand, Thomas Hobbes holds a contrary view in terms of the political system he defends, a view shaped by the circumstances his country was in. The present study aims to examine the portrayal of totalitarianism in Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four and to explore what Hobbes contrarily argues about the necessity of a powerful authority in the establishment and continuity of a harmonious society. The writings by Orwell and Hobbes, the implications the novel carries for fundamental questions about personal freedom, autonomy, and the stifling of individuality will be analyzed by addressing to the concept of totalitarianism that is related to the arguments proposed by Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan. A philosophical consideration of the novel and comparison of how Orwell and Hobbes reacted the idea of totalitarianism in two different ways in their own contexts will encourage us to examine our own political systems, media, and societal norms today.