Animal Farm Essay, Research Paper
Outline the ways in which Napoleon obtained and maintained power on Animal Farm. What message is Orwell conveying to the reader through these processes?
There are many ways in which Napoleon obtains and maintains power on Animal Farm. Napoleon obtains power fundamentally by elimination of all opposing him. He obtains and maintains power by turning other animals weaknesses into his opportunities. He also uses his education and knowledge to obtain and maintain power, as well as his ability to defeat the resistant feelings in other animals. To obtain and maintain power Napoleon uses various degrees of manipulation. He also uses persuasion and propaganda, brainwashing techniques and violence to help him obtain and maintain power. Napoleon maintains power by elevating himself over the other animals, and taking on the characteristics of man. Through these processes, Orwell is trying to convey simply the message of the Russian Revolution. Orwell is also trying to convey a warning about propaganda, and a warning about absolute power through the ways in which Napoleon obtained and maintained power.
Napoleon obtains power primarily by elimination. He believes that if he eliminates all the people standing in between him and ultimate domination, then he can govern the animals in any way that he sees fit. His first step of eliminating is to divide the animals into two classes. Napoleon, along with the other pigs, became of a privileged class, while the rest of the animals were inferior. This division of the animals is first seen when the order went forth that all the windfalls were to be collected and brought to the harness-room for the use of the pigs . When the other animals question this decision Napoleon s propagandist, Squealer, assured the animals that it is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples if we pigs failed in our duty Jones would come back . This answer satisfies the animals, and they are content with this new separation, as Napoleon hoped they would be.
Napoleon continues to obtain power by elimination, next he starts to seize power from his rivals. He is already of a select class, the next thing he does is eliminate all those in his class that can displace him. Snowball was his rival for the place of supreme command; therefore he needed to get rid of Snowball. He does this by using dogs that dashed straight for Snowball In a moment he was out the door and was seen no more . This overthrow was a premeditated thought, as he had previously taken a litter of dogs away from their mothers, kept them in a loft and the rest of the farm soon forgot their existence. Napoleon had previously calculated how to obtain ultimate power, and eliminates all of the thoughts or animals opposed to his regime.
An important way in which Napoleon obtains and maintains power is by finding and utilising the weaknesses of others. Like himself, all of the other pigs are greedy, and soon begin stealing food from all the other animals. Napoleon knows that he can use their greed, to reinforce a group of companions who will support his decisions. He sets aside material things to entice their support, such as all the milk, apples, and barley, for which to make beer. This newfound pampering appeals to the pigs and they associate the upper-class society in which they live with Napoleon. This leads them to believe that if they follow Napoleon, and support his thoughts, their lives will be considerably better, so they follow and trust Napoleon. This is what Napoleon was aiming for, and the support of the pigs helps him to obtain and maintain power.
Napoleon uses education and learning to help him obtain and maintain power. Napoleon seems to use the Proverb A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength as one of his truisms. The pigs are clearly the most intellectual animals on the farm, and soon take control of running it. Napoleon increases his superiority by educating only the elite animals, such as the pigs and some dogs. By only educating the small portion of the aristocrats, he increases the likelihood of the superiority of the pigs, and gives the impression to the rest of the animals that the pigs are educated, therefore everything they say and do is right. By giving the animals this perception, they are far less likely to challenge the ideas and philosophies of the pigs, and the class boundaries widen, hence allowing Napoleon to obtain and maintain more power.
Napoleon also obtains and maintains power by conquering resistant feelings in the other animals, and controlling the animals by their dread of repercussions. Napoleon tries to make himself too magnificent for anyone to defy him or try to overcome him. His nine huge dogs frisking round him and uttering growls that sent shivers down all the animals spines made it possible for him to monitor all those who might revolt against him, and make sure that they don t. The animals knew that if they defied Napoleon, the price they would pay, would be their lives. By installing this fear into all of the animals, he makes sure that no one rebels against him, thus obtaining and maintaining power.
Power is obtained and maintained by Napoleon, through his extensive use of manipulation. Most of the animals are too accepting, unassertive and believe that Napoleon and the other pigs are right, and are legitimate in taking control of the farm. Napoleon takes advantage of this, and ultimately achieves a dictatorship, similar to that which the animals overthrew. However, the problem of the animals naivety is not helped by Boxer constantly saying, Napoleon is always right . Neither is this problem helped by the way the sheep untimely bleat out Four legs good, two legs bad or Four legs good, two legs better , depending on which point in the novel. Napoleon uses Boxer, who is well trusted by all the other animals, to help convince everyone that Napoleon is indeed always right. He brainwashes the sheep to repeat their saying over and over again, at inopportune times, to distract the other animals from their thoughts, which may be contradictory to Napoleon. By manipulating a small population of the animals, to say and do certain things, at particular times, he is able to convince the other animals that he is superior, ultimately obtaining and maintaining power.
Napoleon obtains and maintains power by manipulating his fellow animals through persuasion and propaganda. Squealer is Napoleons propaganda agent. He is able to make incredible persuasive speeches, and to twist words and actions of Napoleon around, to make them appear much more charitable then they really are. Squealer makes public speeches, spreads lies by talking to the animals individually, and he lies with a great deal of certainty, which seems to enhance his chances of the other animals believing him. Squealer knows that the animals are not particularly smart, and cannot understand all of what he is trying to say. He uses this to his advantage by, at times, arguing at the same level as the animals. Squealer says things like It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples . He succeeds in making the animals believe the opposite of the truth; the apples and milk are definitely taken out of selfish ambition. If this is not convincing enough, then he uses extended words, and complicated theories, which makes the animals believe that he is so smart that he must know what he is talking about, and should be trusted. Napoleon recognises Squealer s impressive persuasive skills, and uses him as his promotional representative, to manipulate the animals into following him, which helps him obtain and maintain more power.
Napoleon manipulates the animals by brainwashing them in order to obtain and maintain power. Snowball was Napoleons rival to dictator, prior to his exile, and Napoleon brainwashes all of the animals into believing Snowball was the enemy. Together, Squealer and Napoleon convince the animals that Snowball is a traitor, who is solely liable for the collapse of the windmill. The animals hear that Snowball was working in conjunction with Jones before the revolution, and working with humans at present. They then proceed to tell the animals that it was not Snowball who was brave at the Battle of the Cowshed, but Napoleon, who acted in a cowardly way. These are more lies, which the animals believe. By brainwashing the animals to believe that Snowball was evil, it makes Napoleon look even better, consequently helping him obtain and maintain power.
Napoleon uses violence to help him in his quest to obtain and maintain power. In the beginning of Animal Farm there is a fierce rivalry between Snowball and Napoleon. When Napoleon sees that he can no longer compete with Snowball and win, he resorts to violence. This was a calculated thought, as he previously removed a group of young pups from their mothers, in anticipation that one day he would need a violent army to help him rise to power. His real plan for his future is seen when the army chases Snowball off the farm. From this moment on, he rules with a constant threat of violence. Should anyone disagree with him, they will be hurt, killed or exiled. Thus, violence helps Napoleon to obtain and maintain power in Animal Farm.
A way in which Napoleon maintains power is by elevating himself. Napoleon wants to make himself appear so powerful that no animal will even think of trying to overpower him. He does this by many large, elaborate ceremonies, in which he awards himself medals and proclaims how wonderful he is, whilst giving himself extremely flattering titles. He gives himself special privileges, which makes him look superior. He starts to appear less frequently to the animals, and he takes extra beer and other delicacies all for himself. He makes himself seem so impressive, therefore deterring any animal, which may think they can overthrow him. By elevating himself, Napoleon is able to maintain power.
A large way in which Napoleon elevates himself to maintain power, is that he starts to act like a man. He begins to walk upon two legs, even though, prior to the revolution, Old Major stated that Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. Napoleon and some other pigs start to carry whips and other tools used by man to keep the animals in line. The pigs start to sleep in the farmhouse, on the beds, which was also forbidden by Old Major, in his inspiring speech. The pigs start drinking beer, which was also banned by Old Major, and eating prohibited foods. Before the revolution on Animal Farm, man was superior and all of the animals respected and feared him. Napoleon knows that by living in the likeness of man, he can install the same fear and respect, therefore maintaining the same power.
Through Napoleon and his battle for power, George Orwell is conveying the message of history. The novel Animal Farm is based on the Russian Revolution, and each character in the novel represents a figure in history. By portraying the Russian Revolution in a simple way, using animals, Orwell is able to present to the readers this important part of history interestingly and plainly. As well as just presenting the information, Orwell is able to present the emotions and the inequalities seen in the Russian Revolution, which you can not get from a textbook. One of the messages Orwell is conveying in Animal Farm is the significance, the pain, the suffering and tyrannical dictatorship of the Russian Revolution.
Another message that Orwell is trying to convey is not to believe everything you hear. In Animal Farm, Napoleon uses Squealer as his propaganda agent, and the animals believe what Squealer says. This gives Napoleon more power, thus making the lives of the other animals worse. If the animals had thought about things by themselves, and not listened to Squealer, their lives could have been drastically different. Through Animal Farm, George Orwell is trying to send the message that you shouldn t automatically believe everything you hear, but you should think for yourself.
An additional message that Orwell is trying to convey is that there should not ever be anyone in a political system who has absolute power. In the story of Animal Farm, Napoleon achieves absolute power, which allows him to do whatever he wants to do. If you give someone the privilege of supreme command, there is a human inclination to abuse it. Orwell is warning us against allowing total dictatorship, because it will generally be abused, and only cause the general population more pain.
Thus in conclusion, it can be seen that there are many ways in which Napoleon obtains and maintains power on Animal Farm. Napoleon obtains power essentially by elimination of all opposing him. He knows if he succeeds in eliminating his competitors there is nothing to stop him from absolute power. He obtains and maintains power by turning other animals weaknesses into his opportunities, although only with selfish ambition. He also uses his wisdom and to obtain and maintain power as none of the other animals are educated. He also has an ability to defeat the resistant feelings in other animals. To obtain and maintain power Napoleon uses quite a bit of manipulation in order to convince the animals to be loyal to him. He also uses persuasion and propaganda. He brainwashes animals, and uses violence to help him obtain and maintain power. Napoleon maintains power by elevating himself over the other animals, and taking on the characteristics of man, which make him appear too superior to overthrow. Through these processes, Orwell is trying to convey simply the historical tale of the Russian Revolution. Orwell is also trying to convey a warning about propaganda, not to be easily influenced and a warning about absolute power through the ways in which Napoleon obtained and maintained power. Through these processes we can see the messages that are trying to be conveyed, through the way Napoleon obtains and maintains power in Orwell s novel Animal Farm.
v All unfootnoted quotations are directly from the novel Animal Farm, by George Orwell.
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