27 March 2013
“The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse”. The unpleasant human characteristics of selfishness and greed are dominant throughout this piece of literature. There is an automatic crave for power but once that is achieved, everyone still yearns for more proving that nothing can satisfy man. In the novel Animal Farm, George Orwell explores the subject of power corruption and the influence it may hold over a leader despite good intentions. He uses allusion as a reference to parallel the Russian Revolution where corruptions lead to the downfall of mankind as shown many times in society. Power is misused and abused by many while trying to establish a reputation and position on the farm. Squealer, Snowball and Napoleon echo that statement through their actions and behaviour.
Squealer plays an important role in the novel and reflects the negative consequences of power. He employs the use of propaganda with the intention of tricking the animals to believe everything the pigs do is for the sake of the farm as a whole. “You would not rob us of our repose, would you, comrades? Surely none of you wishes to see Jones back?” (80). Squealer is purposely misleading the others by tricking them in the favour of the pigs to appear thoughtful and generous in order to reap certain benefits and luxuries such as being able to sleep in beds. Likewise he also abuses the trust of his comrades by making alterations to the original Seven Commandments. “At the end wall of the big barn, where the Seven Commandments were written, there lay a ladder broken in
two pieces. Squealer, temporarily stunned, was sprawling beside it, and near at hand there lay a lantern, a paint-brush, and an overturned pot of white paint.” (112) Without a doubt, Squealer is the one to blame for misusing authority due to his narcissistic ways. Along with the other pigs, he is taking advantage of the poor memory of the animals to adjust rules to better adapt to current situations. Squealer portrays very well that some cannot hold power without the temptation to abuse it. However, he is not the only one on the farm being affected by corruption.
Snowball is another character who exploited power in spite of his idealistic vision and good intentions. He has become accustomed to getting special treatment and privileges unlike the other hardworking animals on the farm. “The importance of keeping the pigs in good health was all too obvious. So it was agreed without further argument that the milk and windfall apples (and also the main crop of apples when they ripened) should be reserved for the pigs alone.” (53) By eating and not opposing to having the milk and apples, he is already disobeying the commandments and main principle of Animalism where all animals are equal amongst each other. At the battle of Cowshed, Snowball also awards himself the honour of Animal Hero-First Class. Although the decision was “unanimous” it was quite clear Snowball held a heavy and imposing influence on the voting. This word was used to fake democracy on the farm giving the animals a sense of freedom. “The animals decided unanimously to create a military decoration, “Animal Hero, First Class,” which was conferred there and then on Snowball and Boxer.” (60) In order to gain more respect and heighten his importance, by receiving this award he has justified his position on the farm of being a leader admired by his comrades.
Although Snowball really wanted to better life for all, he too had fallen into the traps of human nature, the instinct of always wanting more that what is enough. His leadership was however cut short after unresolved conflict with another prominent figure in the story.
Napoleon is a power hungry individual with egoistic motives but manages to cover up his actions by fooling his fellow comrades. He was the leader who made the biggest impact on the farm. His rash decisions and self-centered choices led to...
Cited: Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York: First Signet, 1996. Print
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