The Hunger for Power
In kindergarten, many usually want to be the line leader. For some, leadership comes naturally and taking charge of things is what they like to do. For others, it is easier to stay in the shadows and let other people lead. However, this leads to problems when one person or group pirates power and uses it to one’s advantage. In the novel, Animal Farm, the author, George Orwell, creates a story where animals revolt and expel their neglectful owner, Farmer Jones, from the farm. The pigs slowly start to form a dictatorship and rule over the other animals. They make up rules that benefit the pigs alone. Two pigs that fight for power, Snowball and Napoleon, begin to use fear and manipulation to get what they want while they still stay in favor of the animals. Pretty soon, the pigs start to adopt Farmer Jones’ ways. They start to become more like the humans that they learn to fear and hate at the beginning of the revolution. In the novel Animal Farm, George Orwell uses the literary devices of symbolism, foreshadowing, and metaphors to demonstrate the theme of hazards of dictatorship.
There are many symbols in Animal Farm. The novel is an allegory, or a symbolical narrative, that reflects on the problems of the dictatorships of Czar Nicholas II and Joseph Stalin. Soon after the revolution, Napoleon starts to take charge over the other animals. “Napoleon was a large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar…with a reputation for getting his own way” (Orwell 16). Napoleon gets his own way, especially with the help of the fierce dogs he raises to do exactly what he wants. This symbolizes how Stalin uses fear and intimidation, of his secret police, to get what he wants out of the people he rules over. It also helps that Napoleon is a pig, and in the novel, the pigs are known to be the smartest of the animals. Pretty soon, the pigs start to take advantage of the animal’s stupidity. “The pigs did not actually work, but directed and supervised the others” (Orwell 27).
Here, the pigs manipulate the animals to think that the pigs are in charge, because they are the smartest and the brainwork of the farm. This represents how Stalin uses his propaganda, like Napoleon uses Squealer, to persuade the people that they need to work harder for the benefit of the new government because it is good for everyone in the end. In reality, it is not good for everyone. In the novel, the animal’s hardwork benefits the pigs alone. There is “evident weakness and vanity at the core of the pig dictatorship” (Letemendia 129). V.C. Letemendia, author of “Revolution on Animal Farm,” describes the definite lack of unity and equality in the animals’ new government. Whenever the pigs manipulate the animals and trick them to do or think a certain way, it is for the pigs’ own good, not the good of the whole farm. That is the weakness this author describes in his work. Dictatorship corrupts because of the vanity and greed of the dictators. The pigs, as dictators of the other animals, use manipulation to benefit only themselves and their wants.
The pigs set themselves above all the other animals. They think they get special treatment and discredit the other animals even though they do all the work on the farm. The pigs counter this argument and claim they are the brainwork of the farm. The pigs start to trick the animals, and slowly, they lead them under their power. At first, the pigs and the other animals seem unified, but then the equality they portray with the animals starts to rapidly diminish. As a reader, one can foreshadow things to come in the novel, especially when the pigs slowly lead the other animals under their power and dictatorship. The pigs and the animals no longer seem equal as the pigs start to manipulate the animals to do what they want. The pigs start to take advantage of the stupidity of the other animals. They also start to claim certain privileges over the other animals, and to prove that they deserve these privileges, they use their convincing pig Squealer. “…the milk and the windfall apples should be reserved for the pigs alone” (Orwell 36). Here, the pigs request privileges that benefit only themselves. This predicts that the pigs become more like leaders over the other animals just like Farmer Jones. The more the pigs set themselves above the other animals, the more one can predict that the pigs’ power eventually assists them when they become dictators.
Old Major, the wise old pig, warns the animals about the possible rise of a single power if the animals do not follow the commandments. “Above all, no animal must ever tyrannise over his own kind. Weak or strong, clever or simple, we are all brothers…All animals are equal” (Orwell 11). Old Major, who is very wise, predicts that if the animals do not come to understand that they are all equal, and they are all “brothers”, then they will not successfully uphold their dignity and the dignity of all the animals. Old Major warns of a tyranny of one kind of animal over the other types of animals. The pigs form a dictatorship and believe they are above everyone else because they are the smartest. Even though the pigs use their power over the other animals, the animals still rely on the pigs because they are not very smart. The pigs think they need to step in and take over the role of the smartest leaders. “The increasingly tyrannous doings of the pigs who run the farm…flawless reciprocal trust or all perish together” (Ridenour 39).
Louis Ridenour, author of Animal Farm is an Amusing and Alarming Novel, describes how the tyranny of the pigs who overpower the other animals increases throughout the novel. The pigs start with something small, and they take the privilege to eat any of the apples away from the other animals. Then, pretty soon, the animals enter servitude under the pigs. Dictatorship corrupts because of the vanity and greed of the dictators. This shows how the pigs, as dictators of the other animals, use manipulation to benefit only themselves and their wants. They start to trick the animals, and slowly, they lead them under their power. The pigs demand special privileges for themselves and they start to tyrannize over the other animals until the animals pretty much do their work for barely enough food to keep them alive. Even though wise Old Major warns the pigs, they do not heed his words and instead the meaning of, “All animals are equal,” goes to waste when the pigs turn it around and make rules and privileges to benefit the pigs’ selfish wants” (Orwell 11).
The pigs’ greed for power shows when they start to follow in the footsteps of the human, Farmer Jones, who they successfully overthrow in the animals’ revolution. The hostile gap between animals and humans clearly shows in Orwell’s novel, especially during the revolution on animal farm. The animals’ enemies are the humans, and vice versa, because each group covets the other group’s power. They each want that power for themselves. Both the pigs and the humans show a hunger for power and dictatorship. “…pigs and humans may come to look the same at the end, but they are still essentially enemies and share only a greed for power” (Letemendia 133). V.C. Letemendia, author of “Revolution on Animal Farm,” is describing the greed and overuse of power both the humans and the pigs come to have. Each are victims of greed and selfishness. They are not enemies of eachother, but rather, they are enemies of greed and want of the other group’s power. Orwell depicts the hostility between the animals and humans very well. He states, “All men are enemies.
All animals are comrades” (Orwell 10). The animals think that to work well together and be “comrades,” one has to be an animal. Animals can never be friends to humans because they are evil, and therefore an animal must always consider humans as enemies. Part of the reason the animals are hostile to the humans is because Farmer Jones does not treat the animals with respect, and instead he neglects his duties to take care of the animals. When his neglect goes too far, the animals rebel against him and establish themselves as the power and therefore take the responsibility of the farm. The animals, under their oppressor Farmer Jones, are miserable and want to end their hardships. After the revolution, they simply go back to their miserable ways when the pigs form a dictatorship and become the animals’ new oppressors. “No animal in England is free. The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth” (Orwell 7). Orwell compares the lives of the animals with the misery and slavery they are forced to endure under their many oppressors who are Jones and the pigs. The animals never know freedom because of the constant dictatorship of their many oppressors, humans and animals. The animals think their enemies are only Jones and all humans, when in reality, their true enemies are the dictators that rule over them and the greed those dictators have for power.
The animals’ lives consist of fear for themselves, and of course, fear of the slavery they must endure. Constantly they endure many toils and hardships under their irresponsible oppressors. The animals, under their cruel dictators, do not realize their lives will be better if Jones becomes their owner again. They are very confused because of the persuading words of the pigs, that they do not even remember when Jones became their owner. George Orwell, author of Animal Farm, uses the literary devices of symbolism, foreshadowing, and metaphors to present the theme of hazards of dictatorship. The pigs symbolize dictators, such as Joseph Stalin, who use their power to benefit only themselves and their wants. Just like Stalin and other dictators, the pigs set themselves above all the other animals. Pretty soon, the pigs start to take advantage of their intelligence, and the animal’s stupidity. They use fear and manipulation to achieve the power that they want. This represents how Stalin uses his propaganda to persuade the people that they need to work harder for the benefit of the new government because it is good for everyone in the end. When a dictatorship occurs, the ones of lesser importance or the ones with less power are not treated with respect or dignity.
They are cheated, their rights are abused, and their oppressors use manipulation to remain with power. The pigs demand special privileges for themselves and they start to tyrannize over the other animals. One can realize the pigs’ hunger for power when they start to follow the ways of Farmer Jones, who they want to successfully overthrow in the animals’ revolution. The hostility between the animals and humans clearly shows in Orwell’s novel, especially during the revolution. The animals, at the start of the novel, are hostile to Farmer Jones and his power over them. The animals, under their oppressor Farmer Jones, are miserable and want to end their hardships. They think they are better off without the dictatorship of their master. After the revolution, the animals simply go back to their miserable ways when the pigs form a dictatorship and become the animals’ new oppressors. In Animal Farm, Orwell believes that all revolutions come to fail. When a revolution occurs, the original power is overthrown, and maybe for a while, the group as a whole work together for the good of everyone. Then, as every group with a goal must have a leader, dictatorship is established and the group falls back into the state of oppression once more.