Discuss how an important idea was illustrated at the beginning, and concluded at the end of the novel
The satire ‘Animal farm’ by George Orwell has many ideas that are illustrated through it. One important idea is power corrupts; this idea is demonstrated through Naopleon who is the antagonist and along with his council of pigs represents the Russian leader Joseph Stalin and his committee. Through Napoleon and his pigs’ council, we are able to see the idea of ‘power corrupts’ anyone or group who has too much of it.
When Napoleon is crowned the official leader of the farm, all he cares about is maintaining his position. Unknown to anyone else, he has raised a secret army of dogs which “he had taken form their mothers at birth”. Napoleon represents the Russian leader Stalin who ruthlessly murdered anyone contesting his superior power. In ‘Animal farm’, a key event is ‘the public execution of alleged traitors’. By doing this, Napoleon is able to keep everyone in line and get rid of any opposition. Another key event is the exile of Snowball, a key rival of Napoleon, who represents Leon Trotsky in history. Snowball was the only possible animal that was able to contest power with Napoleon and this led to both pigs trying to persuade the other animals to vote for them as leader, due to the fact that neither of them was willing to co-operate and share power. Despite Snowball having the better speeches and ideas, his major flaw was not realizing Napoleon’s ambitions through his secret army and his slow rise to power. This was ultimately Snowball’s downfall.
This is a preview of the whole essay
Once Napoleon had power, he did everything to try keeping it which meant going to great lengths including killing any supporters of Snowball. Examples of this include: the fours pigs that were alleged to have secret meetings with Snowball, the hens who said that they were told in a dream to disobey Napoleon and other animals said to have a link with Snowball. After the exile of Snowball, anything bad that happened was blamed on him this is shown when the cows “unanimously declared Snowball milked them in the middle of the night”. The windmill was an important scheme of Snowball to benefit the other animals by reducing the workload. When it was built under Napoleon who stole his idea, it was soon destroyed. This led to Napoleon blaming everything bad on Snowball, using him as his scapegoat to further discredit him. In an important battle, the battle of Cowshed, Snowball was the hero because of his courage but once he was exiled Squealer persuaded the other animals that Napoleon was the real hero and Snowball was “Jones ally” thus an enemy. ( Quote) The stiff competition for power led Napoleon to do everything he can to keep it and this included belittling Snowball and giving himself all the glory.
When Napoleon acquired power, he took advantage of it and abused it. At first there were seven commandments which were unaltered. The dominant group of animal, the pigs under the orders of Napoleon however slowly alters them with words such as ‘to excess’, ‘without sheets’ and ‘without cause’ by taking advantage of the other animals being illiterate. This take is performed by Napoleons right hand man Squealer. Napoleon also encourages the pigs to use their powers to give them privileges such as being able to drink alcohol, eat more food and wake up an hour later than the other animals. When the animals attempt to question this, Squealer uses propaganda by keeping the threat of “if we fail our duty, do you know what will happen, Jones will come back”. Mr. Jones was the previously the cruel human owner of the farm who was driven out. By using the threat of Mr. Jones, Napoelon is able to keep the other animals in line.
The pigs encouraged by Napoleon use their power to do trade with the humans despite many animals protesting against this and the speech of Old Major, the pig who founded the revolution opposing this. Through this action, we are able to see that the pigs under Napoleon are corrupt with power and they make their own decisions. This rule is first broken when Mr. Whymper is invited onto the farm. At first Napoleon justifies this by saying, ‘we are only trading for necessities’. However as time passes by Napoleon doesn’t even bother to comply with this rule and start becoming more human-like. This is shown when the Napoleon and the pigs start trading for alcohol, forcing the hens to give up their eggs, (a rule against anamalism which old major described as important to keep after the rebellion) and trading their most loyal worker Boxer for a crate of whisky when he is no longer needed with Napoleon having even more privileges which include having sugar to eat. By the end of the book, the pigs are wearing clothes and carrying whips which shows they were no better than Mr Jones. Mr Pilkington a neighbouring farmer when he is invited onto the farm says to Napoleon“I congratulate you for running a farm crueler than I can”. Clover is the mare in the book that prevents it from turning into a dry satire; by the end through her thoughts we are able to see “there is no difference between the humans and the pigs”.
At first the Napoleon has limited power over the other animals due to Mr Jones being in charge of the farm. However after the revolution on the farm, the pigs under Napoleon are then able to seize advantage of the situation, they also use their vast knowledge and education to control the other animals and become more and more dominant as time passes by. Napoleon and the pigs not only break the laws of Anamalism set by old Major but they also do everything they can to attempt to keep the power they gained. This shows that power is able to corrupt those individuals or groups with too much of it.