Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. Discuss in relation to "Animal Farm".

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I believe that this dictum is borne out to an extent as suggested by several examples present in the novel. These include violence amongst supposed comrades, deceit and betrayal amid leaders and workers, and most importantly intelligence, which is the key to the corruption. Orwell’ scathing satire of the Russian Revolution, and his dark dystopian vision of a population under complete surveillance and control, have informed generations of readers of the threat posed by tyrannical governments. The statement “absolute power corrupts absolutely” is carried out to a degree throughout the events that occur in this political allegory.

‘Animal Farm’ is a fable in the sense that its characters are animals, each with his own personality and human characteristics. The animals think, talk, obey, disobey, aspire, fight, and respect their leaders - just like men; but the animals are used to expose the follies and failings of humans. In a fable, everything is meaningful and has some purpose; situations, relationships, scapegoats, and friends are all developed to make a point. The law abiding, simple animals in the story only want peace, which is impossible under the harsh and merciless pigs that rule. Squealer's rationalising, persuasion and defensive tactics point out the hazards of propaganda. Through him, Orwell warns, "Keep the truth away from the people, tell your lies boldly and persistently, and people can be made to believe anything." As a fable, the story is warm, amusing, and friendly on the surface, but underneath, there is great meaning, for it becomes a political fable on the story of the Russian Revolution and its betrayal of the people.

‘Animal Farm’ opens with the news that old Major, "the prize Middle White boar", has called a meeting to share a dream that he's had. As he explains his dream to the other animals, he points out to them that "Man is the only creature that consumes without producing," and he encourages them to "work night and day, body and soul, for the over-throwing of the human race". In short, he explains that men have been taking advantage of them for years, and that it is time for the tyranny of man to end. His message, boiled down to a word: "Rebellion."

What Orwell actually gives us through old Major’s speech is a simplified version of the beliefs of communism, which were put down by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in ‘The Communist Manifesto’. The basic idea of the ‘Manifesto’ was that the capitalist economic system was seriously flawed. The workers never saw the products of their labour because the capitalists – the people who owned the means of production – claimed the profit for themselves. Marx suggested that if common workers could overthrow the capitalists and claim the means of production for themselves, then all the workers of the world could live in peace with one another. The ‘Manifesto’ famously ends "The common workers have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workers of the world, Unite!" Old Major essentially ends his speech the same way with his final call to "Rebellion!" Yet both Marx and Old Major are better at criticizing the existing system than at proposing a new one.

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At the start of the story, the already existing inequality is recognised as Orwell describes the way in which each character enters the barn. The pigs are aggressive, want to seize control, and are also the first to enter, giving them the ‘leader’ role almost immediately. However, the two cart-horses, Boxer and Clover, walk in very slowly and “settle down their vast hairy hoofs with great care lest there should be some small animal concealed in the straw”. This sentence portrays the horses as very loving and caring animals, contrasting the pigs, and gives the impression that they only ...

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