How Power Corrupted the Pigs in Animal Farm by George Orwell

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The satire Animal Farm by George Orwell expresses the idea of self-government through the animals. The animals play the role of humans, in this way using most, if not all, of the human characteristics.

Because the animals decide that they want to run the farm by themselves, they make up a way of living called Animalism. The basic principles of Animalism are two, all animals are to be treated as equals, and no animals shall acquire any human traits or

characteristics whatsoever. The seven commandments under which they live are based on these major principles. As soon as they develop a whole new system, they throw out all of the humans that run the farm. Even though they are supposed to be equal, the

pigs begin to take control. By the end of the novel, the pigs have manipulated the rest of the animals into doing everything they want. The pigs then become almost exactly like the humans. The most important pigs are Napoleon and Snowball, that is until Napoleon

throws Snowball from the farm. It is throughout this satire that Orwell illustrates how power corrupts by showing the pigs actions.

Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely is a concept widely understood after having read Orwell’s satire. It is first shown when the pigs take the milk and apples, explaining to the rest of the animals that everyone is equal, but some are just more “equal” than others. They also argue that the pigs do more thinking, and therefore need more energy to do so. It is in the latter part of the book, that the concept of

corruption gradually earns its meaning. When Napoleon forces Snowball to leave the farm, the power is all his. Napoleon fixes anything that goes wrong on the farm simply by blaming Snowball. He insists that Snowball had always planned everything in order to

harm the farm. Napoleon does not have a limit.

The pigs break all seven commandments, some without notice, simply because power is addictive, and they constantly want more of it. It is never enough. These

commandments are to be followed by all the animals living on the farm at all times.

Included in these commandments is the sixth one which states that no animal shall kill any other animal. Napoleon breaks this commandment when he kills the chickens he says

are against him and the farm’s ideals.
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