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Dictatorship and totalitarian control are established themes throughout The Hunger Games. Chapter one paints a strong picture at the very beginning of the novel of the Capitol's desire for total control over the districts. Following the "Dark Days, the uprising of the districts against the Capitol," the Capitol issued a new series of laws to hold the districts in check:
"The Treaty of Treason gave us the new laws to guarantee peace, and as our yearly reminder that the Dark Days must never be repeated, it gave us the Hunger Games" (18).
The Games themselves are one powerful way the Capitol exerts its total control over the Districts; it is a painful reminder of the complete power that the Capitol has over the lives of its citizens. Katniss sees the Hunger Games for their true role in the dictatorship of the Capitol:
"Taking the kids from our districts, forcing them to kill one another while we watch--this is the Capitol's way of reminding us how totally we are at their mercy. How little chance we would stand of surviving another rebellion. Whatever words they use, the real message is clear: 'Look how we take your children and sacrifice them and there's nothing you can do. If you lift a finger, we will destroy every last one of you'" (18-19).
The Capitol uses the Hunger Games to exert control over the districts through the use of fear and intimidation, powerfully driving home Collins' theme of dictatorship in the novel The Hunger Games.