You were already in a prison. You’ve been in a prison all your life. Happiness is a prison, Evey. Happiness is the most insidious prison of all. Your lover lived in the penitentiary that we are all born into, and was forced to rake the dregs of that world for his living. He knew affection and tenderness but only briefly. Eventually, one of the other inmates stabbed him with a cutlass and he drowned upon his own blood. Is that it, Evey? Is that the happiness worth more than freedom? It’s not an uncommon story, Evey. Many convicts meet with miserable ends. Your mother. Your father. Your lover. One by one, taken out behind the chemical sheds… and shot. All convicts, hunched and deformed by the smallness of their cells, the weight of their chains, the unfairness of their sentences. I didn’t put you in a prison, Evey. I just showed you the bars.’
‘You’re wrong! It’s just life, that’s all! It’s just how life is. It’s what we’ve got to put up with. It’s all we’ve got. What gives you the right to decide it’s not good enough?’
‘You’re in a prison, Evey. You were born in a prison. You’ve been in a prison so long, you no longer believe there’s a world outside. That’s because you’re afraid, Evey. You’re afraid because you can feel freedom closing in upon you. You’re afraid because freedom is terrifying. Don’t back away from it, Evey. Part of you understands the truth even as part pretends not to. You were in a cell, Evey. They offered you a choice between the death of your principles and the death of your body. You said you’d rather die. You faced the fear of your own death and you were calm and still. The door of the cage is open, Evey. All that you feel is the wind from outside.
Alan Moore, V for Vendetta