The Myth of the Totalitarian Leader in George Orwell’s 1984 and Ismail Kadare’s The Palace of Dreams


  • Ervin Xhinaku
  • Olsa Pema


Kadare’s allegorical anti-totalitarian novels are often compared by literary critics to George Orwell’s classical dystopian satire, 1984. What this often-made but rarely-explored comparison suggests is that there is an essential affinity between the totalitarian world presented in Kadare’s anti-totalitarian novels and the famous nightmarish dystopia of Orwell’s 1984. The express aim of the present study is to isolate one of the key building blocks in Orwell’s and Kadare’s conceptions of the overall structure of totalitarianism – the great leader who stand atop the rigid hierarchy of the totalitarian state – and analyse the role it plays in the totalitarian scheme of things. With this aim in view, we have submitted the character of Big Brother from Orwell’s 1984 to a comparative analysis with the character of the Sultan from Kadare’s most representative anti-totalitarian novel, the allegorical Palace of Dreams. The close textual analysis of the way the two characters artistically function in the respective novels, and of their ideological significance for the totalitarian worlds described in them, shows that they bear a marked resemblance to each-other. Essentially, both Big Brother and the Sultan are conceived as archetypal characters who, beyond any more immediate connections to particular historical personages, stand for the totalitarian leader as such. Furthermore, as the results of our analysis show, their mythical conception in the two novels highlights the representation of the figure of the great leader in the minds of totalitarian men as an almost godly being with attributes more divine than human.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n6s2p150


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How to Cite

The Myth of the Totalitarian Leader in George Orwell’s 1984 and Ismail Kadare’s The Palace of Dreams. (2015). Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 6(6 S2), 150.