Animal Farm: Power Corrupts Essay, Research Paper
The Big Guys Aren’t Always Right
George Orwell created a book in which animals were almost as intelligent as humans are, and held an idea of a farm where socialism ruled. This book, Animal Farm,
divides animals into categories as humans are ranked today, from the animals of lesser intelligence up to the smart characters. The smart animals happened to be the pigs, who proved the human theory, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” This story shows these pigs slowly using their manipulative brains, and thoughts, to take control of this Animal Farm. Throughout the book these pigs gain more power and begin to abuse it corrupting the system transforming this socialism dream into a communism starting the whole cycle of unfair rule where signs of unrest become present once again.
As the title suggests this story takes place on a farm that was once owned by Mr. Jones, who was an abusive animal caretaker who always got drunk and never followed through with his responsibilities. This was seen in the very beginning when, “Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the popholes.” This farm lies in the center of a string of three farms divided by natural barriers, and a road that leads to the town. The farm held a well, fields, orchards, stalls, house, and every other thing that a normal farm would contain.
This tale was created to express the ideas of a perfect government called socialism and the human nature to want more than equality. Animal Farm shows how if someone is granted more power with nothing to tie it down or limit it, it will corrupt. The pigs slowly manipulated the system so that in secret they changed the laws to suit their own personal needs. Eventually without realizing it the pigs controlled everything, and began to use their high status to gain whatever they wanted without working for it creating a communism. It all started when pigs where the smarter class, and respected by all of the animals in the Manor. Realizing they were respected they naturally convinced the others that it was acceptable to give themselves just a little more power. Little by little the pigs where soon all-powerful. With all this power the theory of power corrupting began. And the things they rebelled against were coming back to haunt them.
George Orwell introduces this character called Squealer, who is a pig who was an expert at manipulating the animals with words that sound whole-hearted, but are obviously not. The tone of Squealer is obviously always blithely and serious towards the other animals, but to the reader a mere speech that was never impromptu, and quite plainly, simply sarcasm. This double meaning tone emphasizes the clear abuse of power.
When Animal Farm was first taken over everyone agreed that next to equality there would be someone to work out how to arrange what was to happen. The other animals naturally chose the pigs that were known to be the smartest animals on the farm. Short after the pigs were granted this leeway, or power, they begin to jump on every opportunity that arose. The first of which was when the farm realized that the cows would always be producing an abundance of milk. The pigs, when no other animal was looking, seized the milk for their own pleasure excluding the other animals despite the fact that this farm was to be a socialism form of government. Realizing that they were successful in doing this they ordered that the windfall apples were to be solely used by the pigs alone. Squealer was the pig with the slickest of tongue, and had expertise in the field of persuasion. Taking advantage of the other animals with his granted power he confused the animals into allowing these items to be theirs, “You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and self privilege? Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health? We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your well fare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples.” This was the first siting of power gone wrong. From here it only got worse. In the beginning the pigs set up commandments which were to keep animals from ever being as evil as humans were. As the pigs wanted to do these ignominious things, such as drink beer and whisky, they changed them in the night. With the help of squealer the animals were eventually persuaded in to thinking that the commandments were never actually changed. They broke other things such as, “No animal shall kill another animal” when Napolean, the leader of the pigs, slaughtered many animals that committed petty sins such as stealing an apple. The other drastic disobedient act was when the pigs, whom swore never to act as the humans and remain exempt from human pleasures, moved in to the house to live in human luxuries. Squealer once again swayed the public with another exaggerated speech, “It was about this time that the pigs suddenly moved into the farmhouse and took up their residence there. Again the animals seemed to remember that a resolution against this was past in the earlier days, and again Squealer was able to convince them that this was not the case. It was absolutely necessary, he said, that the pigs, who were the brains of the farm, should have a quiet place to work in. It was also more suited to the dignity of the leader to live in a house rather than a mere sty.” It didn’t get any better, not even at the very end of the book, where the pigs began walking on two feet, drinking, and engaging in leisure activities with humans, who in the beginning, where the race the animals despised. This tale is truly the perfect example of the corrupting of power.
“He who controls the past commands the future. He who commands the future conquers the past.” Was stated by the author of Animal Farm, George Orwell. This quote also shows an obvious truth that can prevent what was depicted in his book. The pigs on Animal Farm joined the rest to escape an oppressive ruler (Mr. Jones), in hopes of creating a better “government” with everyone equal, but in the end only ending up where they started with a just as oppressive, if not more oppressive, leader. The quote above means that if we learn from our past we can have a better future. This is what one, as well as society, must do to maintain a system where equals shall remain equals. The pig’s power corrupted because they had absolute power, which corrupts absolutely. If they were more interested in the well being of the farm, or took in ideas from their public limiting their power, they would have come out on top in the end. This should go forth as a lesson to all to be aware of what is going on, and to never let one person ever gain to much power, or you shall be heading strait towards disaster.