Corruption of Power in texts The Godfather, The Crucible, Akira, Animal Farm

Topics: McCarthyism, Vito Corleone, Allegory Pages: 6 (2142 words) Published: June 30, 2009
The corruption of power, or the power of corruption is a common theme found in texts of many different types of media and in many societies and cultures around the world.

In the texts I have selected, I have come to the conclusion that, all characters in the pursuit of power are corrupt.

In the texts I have selected, which include, The Crucible, The Godfather, Animal Farm and Akira, the portrayal of corruption is closely linked to that of power.

How is corruption of power shown/represented in the texts?Lord Acton, a key influence on this essay, once said, All too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control.This quote could hold no more relevance to any other text than that of The Godfather. In The Godfather the story revolves around that of Michael Coleone, and his rise to power as the head of a the family, a gang that deals in various underground activities.

Michaels character undergoes a dramatic development as the film goes on. At the beginning of the film we can see that Michael appears to be a moral and upright character. He is a war hero, and is not involved in anyway with the family business. However as the film progresses, and Michael stats gaining power in the family, he becomes more amoral, firstly killing Sollozzo, a gangster who attempted to take Michaels father, Vito Corleones, life. At this sudden and dramatic change in character Michael justifies his revenge saying, Its not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business. The term, just business is used throughout the film to justify corrupt behaviour, immediately associating the character as materialistic and amoral. The film hence suggests that Michael, perhaps like all of us, always had the potential to be materialistic, (and therefore amoral,)but did not previously hold a position that enabled him to commit any acts or corruption or evil.This corruption is also evident Animal Farm, where the pigs, and more specifically Napoleon, strive for power as a means to commit acts of corruption.

Here, however, the initial motivation is the inverse, and yet the same of what we see in the Godfather. Where Michael uses corruption to achieve power, Napoleon uses power as a means to commit selfish act of corruption. Napoleon and Snowball, two authoritative pigs assume leadership over the farm. However corruption soon becomes evident as Napoleon exiles Snowball, through a long setup plan, in order to gain full control of the farm. Just the fact that Napoleon assumed leadership and had an agenda proves that he was corrupt before he gained power. Napoleon being the only leader almost immediately becomes dictator and inevitably sets up a bureaucracy, which goes against the most important rule of Animalism, All animals are equal. So as Napoleon assumes full power, his corruption materialises, as he has no opposition to challenge him.

In The Crucible too we can see that when absolute power is attained absolute corruption is gained. Powerful characters are always evil. Danforth and Abigail, the two best examples are both willing to kill in order to get what they want. For Abigail, he object of desire is Proctor, and she is willing to kill Elizabeth. While Danforth will do everything he can to protect the power he holds, allowing innocent people to be hung when he knows that the girls are lying. The characters Hale and Proctor both give up their position of power to do the right thing. Proctor for example repents and admits to adultery in order to prove to the court the grudge Abigail holds against Elizabeth. So within the play corruption is therefore represented as power itself; those who hold power, to put it bluntly are corrupt.

In Akira however, corruption exists in all if not most characters. A clear sign of corruption in the movie is through the use of violence. Characters such as Kaneda who from the beginning use violence are seen as corrupt, and as we see Tetsuos character develop he becomes more and more violent, firstly beating people, then...
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