Politics in George Orwell's Animal Farm

Politics in George Orwell's Animal Farm

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Politics in George Orwell's Animal Farm

"Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely" –Lord Acton (1834-1902). It is believed and can be notably seen in the past that many great people become dangerous and corrupt under vast amounts of power. It is this which is usually the greatest cause of their downfall. As we know many people fail, lose their status, or reputation when they are in a higher position. People of status, who have large amounts of control seem to become "power-hungry" and find it necessary to have it in their everyday lives, they need this power to function. Unfortunately in these types of situations, the well being of the "lower classes" becomes irrelevant and the only beings of importance are the ruler and his "comrades" and associates who benefit from agreeing with and enforcing the beliefs of their higher figure.
George Orwell reveals the effects, evils, and corrupt actions behind communist regime throughout his novel Animal Farm. Orwell accomplishes this by exposing, indirectly, the relation of past historical figures and communism through his characters, power, and situation.
George Orwell created a character, Napoleon the pig who emerges as the leader of Animal Farm after the Rebellion, who best paralleled the attitudes and characteristics of Soviet Leader Joseph Stalin. Napoleon, very much like Stalin, seems at first to be a good leader; unfortunately he is eventually overcome and is immensely steeped in greed and desire for power. Stalin, after suspecting many people in his empire to be followers of Trotsky (George Orwell's character Snowball, who is intelligent, passionate, persuasive, and less conniving than his rival, Napoleon), methodically murders many. Napoleon decides that Snowball must be eliminated, much like the situation where Stalin felt these emotions towards Trotsky. (Stalin Ref. Archive, 2)
Old Major, the prize-winning boar whose vision of a socialist utopia serves as the initial inspiration for the Rebellion, as a character, best parallels the philosopher, social scientist, historian, and revolutionary, Karl Marx. This "pure-bred" of pigs is the "kind, grandfatherly philosopher of change" - an obvious metaphor for Karl Marx. Both Marx and Old Major were convinced that they should proclaim their visions of having a society filled with equality. Marx developed a belief that he identified as "Marxism". Marxism regards property as evil. Old Major very similarly created a name for his beliefs he identified as "Animalism". Karl Marx was an idealist, imagining a heaven on earth in which all men and women were equal and could enjoy an adequate standard of living.

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(Alkiviadou, 3)

"The necessary stages to reach this paradise were as follows:
1. The revolution of the common man.
2. The direct leadership of the common men by which Marx meant that after the revolution, those among the ordinary men who were members of the Communist party to assume complete leadership to ensure that the capitalists could not return.
3. Eventually this dictatorship would wither away and would disappear and all men would be free and equal."
Marx never explained how this process of "withering away" was to come about. (Guysboroug, 2)
All people who heard of this great equal land felt compelled to reach that standard of living and the end cause was a revolt against their leader at that time. (Kreis, 4)
To express and depict the style and attitude of Lev Dawidowich Trotsky, the author George Orwell created the character Snowball. Snowball was an articulate, innovative, brilliant strategist, and idealist. Snowball at the beginning, was similar to Napoleon, who best represents Stalin, but as the novel progressed it was apparent that one of the two would have to step down and allow for the other to take control. To have the opponent eliminated, as it was seen necessary, Napoleon exiles Snowball from the farm. Trotsky was also exiled, to Mexico. While away on exile the both of them take the time to speak out against their arch-rivals. (Orwell) (Woods, 4)
Napoleon, much like the Soviet leader J. Stalin did, becomes "power-hungry" and cares little for people other than his immediate "comrades". The way that Napoleon was able to come to power was through the exile of his opponent and rival, Snowball. This method was much like the one that Stalin had used to receive his power, when he had Trotsky exiled and assassinated. The other pigs who surround and support Napoleon could also be described as a symbol for communist party loyalists, thus enforcing his power. Another thing that intensified his power was when he took a litter of puppies from their mother to "educate" them. The "education" fed to the puppies would be an intense form of propaganda. Unknown to the mother, these puppies would soon turn on her, because of the "education" Napoleon and his fellow pigs would implement. These puppies would soon be his own personal defense team, and would attack anyone who spoke against him. (Alkiviadou, 3)
The relation between the temporary power gain, and complete loss of power of both Trotsky, and Orwell's character Snowball is very notably similar. After the passing away of Old Major, Snowball and Napoleon both find themselves fit for the role of leader and slowly take over. Very soon after, it is apparent that one must step down and in determining this Napoleon makes an effort to uphold his authority and power and has Snowball exiled from Animal Farm. This loss of power is much like the loss of power Trotsky was faced with when Joseph Stalin exiled him from the country and later on hired a KGB officer to assassinate him.
Between Karl Marx and Old Major there is a direct relationship of how the power is lost and to whom it is transferred. After proclaiming the vision of equality a period of time had past and then in both instances Old Major and Karl Marx alike, pass away. Thus, rendering their power to the next someone, who will fill the position of leader. The power is then transferred to Trotsky and his fictional character of this novel, Snowball, and Stalin and the character Napoleon. The position is finally claimed and the power is transferred to Stalin and Napoleon. (Orwell) (Kreis, 3)
The situation of Old Major, much like Marx's, is short and altered. Three days after Old Majors barnyard speech, he passes away and the farm is taken over by the other pigs. After the death of the former leader the socialistic ideas he prophesizes are drastically altered when Napoleon and his other fellow pigs take over, and begin to dominate.
The relationship in situation between Napoleon and Stalin are very similar. Napoleon, much like Stalin, was one who many considered to be someone who totally ignored the morals of Old Major's, and Marx's, political and social theories. Napoleon is also described as, much like Stalin, a governor with an "iron fist", who would murder all who opposed him. Both Stalin and Napoleon used force to their advantage, for example, when Napoleon used his educated puppies to his advantage, as a personal police force. (Alkiviadou, 3)
Both Snowball and Trotsky did many things alike, and there was an uncanny relationship between them. Snowball and Trotsky both worked quietly and hard through the night to develop against their opponent. Unfortunately this planning and creative thinking did nothing. Their chances of becoming leader was eliminated by their opponent. In Snowballs case it was Napoleon, and for Trotsky is was Stalin who took his place and exiled him. Because of this, Snowball and Trotsky are both forced out of power and society. (Orwell) (Woods, 2)
Orwell is very competent in depicting the effects, evils, and corrupt actions behind communist regime. George Orwell reveals all of this, throughout his novel Animal Farm, by exposing, indirectly, the relation of past historical figures and communism through his characters, power, and situation.

George Orwell's novel "Animal Farm"
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