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Animal Farm - Power Corrupts, and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

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In 1887, Lord Acton told his friend in a letter, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." In 1945, George Orwell published the short novel Animal Farm, which was as allegory to Soviet totalitarianism, in which he made his views about several topics clear. Many of the characters in the book are corrupted by power, particularly the pigs, as they begin to manipulate their position of leadership to exploit the other animals, showing that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Firstly, it can be seen how power corrupts the pigs in Animal Farm simply by their actions, which include the changing of the commandments and their manipulation of the other animals. The actions of the character Napoleon are a particular case in this argument. In the fifth chapter of the book, Napoleon ousts Snowball from the farm during one of the regular debates with the aid of his trained dogs. ...read more.


This alteration of the commandments is an abuse of the power that the pigs have over the other animals, which is their intelligence and persuasion. The pigs have made life more comfortable for themselves by altering the commandments. However, even when the commandments are altered, which affects not just the pigs but also every animal who resides at Animal Farm, only the pigs are given the privilege to sleep in a bed. The pig Squealer, simply explains to the animals that the pigs require the comfort of the beds in order to function properly as the intelligence of the farm. This proves their abuse of power in order to manipulate the other animals and make life better for themselves and therefore their corruption from power. A third example of the corruption of the pigs is shown when the pigs begin to abolish the equality on the farm. Although there are examples of this abolishment of equality in earlier arguments, such as the examples of the pigs' choice to live in the farmhouse, drink alcohol, and sleep in beds, there are many other examples from the novel. ...read more.


However, how is it that the pigs are not corrupted absolutely, when they act as humans, who are shown to be corrupted absolutely? For that reason, and that reason alone, it can be seen that the pigs are corrupted absolutely by their power. In conclusion, it can be seen that the absolute power that the pigs controlled corrupted them. They began to use it to avoid work, live a self-indulging lifestyle, and exploit the other animals despite the fact that all of the animals swore to the Seven Commandments. Even these were in turn altered by the pigs to suit their needs. Their decision to forge a better, elitist lifestyle at the expense of the other animals despite Old Major's wishes and the needs of the others is a clear demonstration of how the power corrupted them as they chose to create more for themselves. The reasons stated in my arguments justify the arguments, and the arguments themselves justify that, just as Lord Acton wrote, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely..." ...read more.

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Response to the question

The essay response here is in receipt of a question asking candidate to show how Lord Acton's famous quote "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is reflected in the way the pigs in George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' abused their ...

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Response to the question

The essay response here is in receipt of a question asking candidate to show how Lord Acton's famous quote "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is reflected in the way the pigs in George Orwell's 'Animal Farm' abused their power and used it to corrupt not just the other animals of the farm, but also the laws of Animalism. This candidate retains and extremely well-focused direction towards the steer of the question and addresses a number of ways in which Orwell tells us of the pigs' corruptness in the wake of the gradual rise to totalitarian power. It is also good to see contextual appreciation and an excellent use of language in order to convey the analysis in a thoroughly engaging way.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis here is very detailed. The candidate discusses a number of literary techniques used by Orwell to create the sense of corrupt power. In many ways, this is what Orwell always wrote about, and the recognition of the links to the Russian Revolution of 1917 could've been made more explicit and integrated within the essay but nonetheless, this essay covers an extensive range of analytical points, all sourced with evidence from the novel. I would however, prefer it if the majority of evidence given with the points was actually directly quoted from the novel either from Orwell's narrative of from character speech, as it shows a deep understanding of how to source efficiently from the text given and also improves the potency of the analysis.
The candidate does well to comment on how Napoleon seizes power and despite his faith in Old Major's idealist views of Animalism, manipulates the rules that were all set out for all the animals to obey in order to shift their social authority to a position of rule. This is exactly what Lord Acton was saying in his famous quote and to see that the candidate referred to this quote and this very moment shows someone who can link back to the question coherently.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication here is very good. There could be an improvement in the use of more complex punctuation to show examiners a confidence and enthusiasm in the writing, but on the whole the spelling, grammar and punctuation are wholly accurate.

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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 09/03/2012

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