Animal Farm, by George Orwell, begins with humans ruling the farm, and they make the animals' lives miserable. To end the former anguish and create an enjoyable environment for the animals, the humans are driven out of power by pigs’ conduct.
However, they wind up causing as much harm as the humans did. The novel, an allegory for corrupt governments in the early 20th century, concisely demonstrates how dictatorial leaders use cunning lies to fool their citizens into thinking that they are libertarians governing a society has achieved equality. The pigs, using manipulative speeches, distort the reality of the vulnerable and ignorantly docile citizens, ultimately becoming what they first swore to destroy.
By employing euphemism and fallacies, the “brain-workers” – what the pigs call themselves – concealed the calamities taking place, fooling the animals to believe that the atrocities are, in fact, steps to a better world. In the end, success came to the pigs, for the citizens of “their” society only took notice of the situation when it was too late. At that point, the authority of one of the pigs – Napoleon – was established, giving him the opportunity to adjust them for his own benefit. The final product of the numerous alterations to the Seven Commandments, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” displays how tactical yet twisted the “more equal” animals truly are (134). They present this statement for it to sound pleasant when in reality, for these other animals, the animals who are “less equal,” life is brutal and harsh. The “more equal” destroy Jones’s way of leading only to replicate him by prioritizing themselves over their citizens. With these selfish rulers, it is impossible for the farm and its animals to prosper.
As much as the ones giving speeches are eloquent, the ones receiving them are blindly obedient with little to no comprehension; since there is such a gap in the critically thinking of the pigs versus the other animals, an oligarchy develops. It is convenient for the pigs that the other animals are ignorant, and one pig takes the greatest advantage of this ignorance. This pig is Squealer. He is the most articulate on the farm, which makes it easy for him to continuously and deliberately attacking the credibility of the other animals. Utilized to both raise and lower the reputation of certain animals, his subterfuge is often successful. Meticulously, he crafts his schemes, deceiving the crowd and who and what they trust; one example of this would be when he deliberately lies to the animals by making them believe it was vital for the apples to be given to the pigs. Squealer approaches situations in a specific manner so that nothing could be argued against it. When Napoleon’s qualifications for leadership are questioned, Squealer replies to the misgivings of the citizens by changing the subject, saying, “‘I trust every animal here appreciates the sacrifice that Comrade Napoleon has made in taking this extra labour upon himself. Do not imagine, comrades, leadership is a pleasure [...] One false step and our enemies would be upon us[,’ and t]he argument was unanswerable” (55-6). He articulated his speech in a way that the animals who did have opinions on the matter could not respond. His speech implies that the animals are not worthy of giving judgment, leaving the listeners silent.
This moves the animals to accept that the pigs must have the final word on all decisions. However, the position to dictate did not only open to intelligent animals. It was merely a matter of who rose to it first. Those who were confident in their ability to lead gave this power to themselves; the others, though not necessarily witty, did not even get the chance. Thus, when “Animal Farm was proclaimed a Republic, and it became necessary to elect a President[, t]here was only one candidate, Napoleon, who was elected unanimously” (116). To the animals, it was the only choice and an obvious one. However, this may have been so because they were unaware of the pigs pulling their strings, constructing each word to control their decisions. By this, a true democracy on the farm destroyed.
The pigs of Animal Farm let greed control them and beguile themselves by becoming more and more like humans, their original adversary. This behavior contradicts with their initial plan, to establish a farm governed by animals, and animals only. When at first the return of Jones and other humans is considered a threat, as Squealer claims on page 36, it later at the end of the book, becomes what is to be a friendly visit from an ally. Animal Farm’s leaders needed an influencer to follow, which came to be who and what was the enemy, men. Eventually, the presence of humans was familiarized just as it was in the beginning. Only this time, the pigs were among them. As humans were usually superior in comparison to animals, the animals hungry for leverage had to interact with them and indulge in their activity to obtain that same authority. By first altering the rules, the pigs slowly follow the humans’ ways of managing others. It is at the end of the book when the pigs while drinking and playing cards, which is violating their original rules, persuade their guests to endorse that “[b]etween pigs and human beings there was not, and there need not be, any clash of interests” (138). The pigs had steered off from the road to equality between fellow animals by imitating humans and their nature of seeking power. The pigs, however, do not recognize that this way of life is for the worse of Animal Farm and to some extent, themselves. They end up double-crossing themselves, driven by a dream for dominance over the dream for equality.
By exerting their supremacy over the animals, the pigs reconstructed the values of Animal Farm to their advantage and to become humans. Perhaps there is no way human or animal ruled government can improve; it may be that whatever system seems worst is discreetly the best possible within our humanly reach and capacity of mind. Animalism, or its historical parallel, Communism, may have been the most appealing, but due to human nature and the insatiable desire for power in someone somewhere, it is preordained to fail. Capitalism sure may not be the most ideal or fair system to look at; however, it may be the optimal choice out of what is humanly possible, or at least for now.
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