V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta

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Lady Justice Symbol Icon

At the Old Bailey—a famous London building—there is an old iron statue of Lady Justice, the personification of the law. For different characters in V for Vendetta, Lady Justice symbolizes different things. To most of the people of London, Lady Justice is exactly what she seems to be: a symbol of justice. To V, however, Lady Justice symbolizes something more tragic. Since the rise of the Norsefire government, the Old Bailey—and the entire legal system—has come under the control of the Leader and his henchmen, who use “justice” to imprison minorities and constantly watch over their own people. For V, then, Lady Justice is a symbol of the weakness of justice and the law in England. V hopes to replace the corrupt legalism of Lady Justice with a new, better form of justice, based in anarchy and individual liberty.

Lady Justice Quotes in V for Vendetta

The V for Vendetta quotes below all refer to the symbol of Lady Justice. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Freedom and Anarchy Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vertigo edition of V for Vendetta published in 2005.
Book 1, Chapter 5 Quotes

Her name is anarchy! And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none.

Related Characters: V (speaker)
Related Symbols: Lady Justice
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, V holds a mock-conversation with the statue of Lady Justice that stands over the Old Bailey, a famous legal building in London. V accuses Lady Justice of serving an evil master--the Fascist government of England. V maintains that he serves a new master--not justice, but anarchy.

V's speech is important because it spells out his political convictions. Where Adam Susan, the dictator of England, believes that "justice" is all about control and domination (hence his decision to shut down free speech, imprison his opponents, etc.), V takes the opposite point of view. He thinks that the purpose of justice is to allow people to be free and happy; thus, the ideal state of society, he believes, is lack of any government whatsoever. ("Anarchy" literally means "without government.")

V's ideas about justice might seem just as counterintuitive and barbaric as Susan's--most people would probably argue that society needs a compromise between order and freedom. But Moore never once tells readers to agree with V--true to form, we're "free" to make up our own minds about how seriously we should take V's commitment to total anarchy.


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Lady Justice Symbol Timeline in V for Vendetta

The timeline below shows where the symbol Lady Justice appears in V for Vendetta. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 5: Versions
Freedom and Anarchy Theme Icon
The Power of Symbols Theme Icon
Fatherhood, Mentorship, and the State Theme Icon
...building, the “Old Bailey,” on top of which there is an old sculpture of “ Lady Justice .” (full context)
Freedom and Anarchy Theme Icon
The Power of Symbols Theme Icon
Vendettas, Revenge, and the Personal Theme Icon
...after Adam Susan walks into the Old Bailey, V walks by the building. He sees Lady Justice , and has a mock-dialogue with her. He accuses Lady Justice—whom he’s loved since he... (full context)