The Power of Language
George Orwell, writer of the novel Animal Farm shows how the abuse of language becomes a vehicle for the abuse of power. Napoleon is intelligent enough to understand how he can use Squealer to promote propaganda in order to entrench himself as the leader. Napoleon uses Squealer as his spokesman because Napoleon does not possess the oral skills Squealer has. Squealer does nothing of his own, but only under Napoleon’s orders. George Orwell uses the character Napoleon to show how the manipulation of language can be used as a tool to erode democratic values and control society.
Napoleon is able to control society by effectively distorting the definition of words to justify his evil actions. After Napoleon uses the nine vicious dogs to expel Snowball from the farm, Squealer says to the animals “I trust that every animal here appreciates the sacrifice that comrade Napoleon has made in taking this extra labour upon himself. Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is pleasure! On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility. No one believes more firmly than comrade Napoleon that all Animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?” (Orwell 37). Squealer justifies Napoleon’s use of brute force to expel Napoleon, and assume leadership as acts of selflessness and sacrifice. Squealer also defines equality as the act of giving the pigs authority over the other animals, because they are more intelligent. Napoleon robs the animals of their freedom by brainwashing the animals into believing that without his guidance they might make “wrong decisions”. This is no equality, but a lie. Napoleon skews the original definition of words such as equality and sacrifice to control the animals. The animals are thus deceived into thinking that Napoleon’s behavior is in fact prompted by his desire to...
Cited: Orwell, George. Animal Farm. London: Penguin Books, 2008. Print.
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