ESSAY QUESTION – ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell

“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” How Does ‘Animal Farm’ support this statement?
Animal Farm was one of the most controversial and tragic story of the 20th century. It is regarded as a timeless fable, and explores the fault with equality and power. It’s the ultimate test of power and how it can conflict with the original belief of independence and egalitarianism. The animals around the farm believe their hard work meant prosperity to others, but they come to realise that they are ultimately helping only one person, and it’s not them. The pigs take advantage of ignorance amongst the community and show their knowledge by ensuring to the community everything is better than normal. Power is responsibility, but this novel discovers how it is misused to something which is completely contradictory. Power corrupts even the strongest motives and destroys an entire community. Major was the wisest member of the farm, and he was getting old. One night Major had a dream. He explained the nature of the animal life. He explains that “their lives are miserable”, “laborious” and “short”. Major also tells the animals that Man is the only creature who consumes without producing. Major explains that if man was out of the picture, the picture would be pretty. Major expected a revolution and that’s why he prepared the animals to rebel and keep passing on this message to future generations. Major emphasises on how this will lead to prosperity to all. However, Major strictly instructed that the “revolution should not falter” meaning it should never turn to what you set to avoid. The animals understood that the prosperity to others is prosperity of oneself. A song was introduced shortly after, which set rules and guidelines to the revolution which was to come. The name of the song was ‘Beasts of England’ and it explained the rebellion all over England. This was considered to be the main inspiration towards the rebellion. The animals singed it in joy, and each time they sang, it explained to them, what the rebellion was about and how important it will be for the animals. Shortly after what major had to say and explain, he passed away. Due to the song, the animals have developed in the following months. The animals try and find a way to defeat Mr. Jones, who is the only person standing in front of them which prevents their action to become free. The future of the farm had already started to be discussed amongst Snowball and Napoleon. Apart from the inspiration, the word ‘comrade’ was now being used amongst each other to depict each and everyone as equal and friends. The rebellion was achieved much easier than they had though to be. Mr Jones was defeated and the animals had realised they were now on their own, with their own principles and the responsibility and prosperity of each other. There were celebrations which involved them singing ‘Beasts of England’, raising a flag to proclaim their independence and most importantly, the renaming of the farm from ‘Manor’ to ‘Animal Farm’. Everyone realised that there had to be leadership, which would also determine the decisions by how the farm runs, with the sheer hate of humans. Soon, after the animals celebrated, Snowball and Napoleon set out the commandments that everyone must follow. The most important was the equality of animals and the other various commandments which showed the hatred of human life. The animals’ intentions were to live an equal life where the working for others meant the prosperity for you, and in this way, everyone would work for someone,

yet every individual would benefit from it. The animals were strictly told by Major that humans were the evil and they were the ones who caused the animals to suffer inefficiently. The power was automatically taken by Napoleon and Snowball who painted all the seven commandments in front of the animals. The power was accepted by all the animals and people trusted them due to their knowledge and them taking responsibility of keeping the animals alive. However, it is evident that that power and trust was used to only their advantage and it showed the sign on breaking the uppermost law that the prosperity of others is the prosperity of one. Firstly, Napoleon explained to the animals that the milk will be dealt with and they don’t need to worry about it, at that point it seemed clear that Napoleon was going to use that milk only for either himself or the other “wise” pigs rather than share it with the rest of the community. Later, the pigs had found some apples, and in the meeting they explained that pigs are “brainworkers” and that is why the pigs require the apples and milk more than the other animals do. But, it was said in such a manner that the animals felt it was okay for them. Napoleon said “You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness…many of us dislike apples and milk…our sole object in taking this is to preserve our health” which was put in such as way that the animals thought they must be right and they have still care for us and not for them. Snowball was seen as Napoleons political enemy. They always went in different directions and ultimately turned into the toughest and only competitor. Many animals believed that Snowballs ideas were beneficial to the farm and his beliefs to spread the word to other farms were appreciated by many animals. Napoleon constantly disbelieved Snowballs ideas as if he hated him personally. Snowballs ideas were for the future and his plan of the windmill was strongly disbelieved by Napoleon who wanted to focus more on the present. Napoleon had his supporters and Snowball had his side who believed the labour for the windmill would be worth it because at the end they will be able to operate machines without any energy. At the end, it seemed clear who would vote for whom, it would be Snowball. However Napoleon exiled Snowball. This was carried out by nine dogs, which Napoleon explains to be the protection they need. He also explains that Snowball was a traitor, and how all along he was working for the humans. This was a beginning of a scapegoat, where everything that went wrong was blamed on one single person. Napoleon only proof was complex documents which he explained only the smart could read. This showed the fight for power and Napoleon got it by any means. After the expulsion, Squealer explained to the animals that there would be no more meetings and votes, which indirectly got rid of any possible comments and arguments to what Napoleon might do with the farm. Squealer says “…but you might make the wrong decisions” indicating public opinion is not important, and indirectly breaking the last commandment. Nonetheless, the animals were surprised this could happen, but they accepted it, as there was nothing that could be disagreed on. The windmill was to be built after all, and it had been disagreed upon due to the “dangerous” character of Snowball. But, the main reason this was to be undertaken was to take advantage of the animals and “…reduce their rations” giving Napoleon and his ‘special committee’ of pigs the extra food. Power has started to come into play, and power is corrupting their view of equality. The seven commandments were ‘edited’ and no animals shall harm another became no animal shall harm another without cause. Squealer explained it was always like that, and the animals quietly accepted it. Napoleon never spoke; it was only Squealer who put the words in so nicely to the animals. Squealer was the voice of Napoleon, and whatever announcement there was, he would say it, and as we have learned, he would say it in a positive way, but

the outcome (without realising) was negative for all but them (committee of pigs). It appears Squealer was the prime source of propaganda, and using this public fear, was used to the advantage of getting the animals to do what they wanted them to do. Squealer also covered for Napoleon, and whenever there was something wrong he would use the scapegoat (Snowball) who the animals believed to be a traitor because Squealer and Napoleon had ‘said’ with evidence to ‘complex.’ Propaganda gets through all the public, and this is a ingeneration of power that Napoleon had always wanted. There were hard working animals, who always believed what others had to say. Boxer from a very early stage always listened to the master, and carried out the tasks with all his hard work and strength. Later, he adopted maxims for Napoleon such as ‘I will work harder’ and ‘Comrade Napoleon is always right.’ This provided the animals with someone to look to, and some sort of inspiration. Clover was Boxers best friend, and she cared for Boxer when he had a split hoof. She was shows as always helping and kind to others, and very academic. Clover was the one who forgot the seven commandments (when they were changed) and continued to believed they must be right. Clover also protected the ducklings when Old major was speaking which therefore shows her caring and kind nature. There were many other animals who quietly worked and always believed what Napoleon and Squealer had to say. The sheep were taken advantage of due to their stupidity. Mollie was seen as a selfish horse who still wanted to undertake the human way of life. The cat was shown as a bad worker but yet, still prompting and encouraging others to work. Benjamin the donkey didn’t seem to believe in the revolution, and he never participated, due to his beliefs in the order of the revolution.