Satire in Animal Farm

Satire in Animal Farm

Animal Farm Essay

English historian Lord John Acton once said “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely”. This simple but accurate and now legendary saying is vividly and eloquently proved in Orwell's short novella Animal Farm. The story is a simple fable of great symbolic and representative value, and as Orwell himself explained; "it is the history of a revolution that went wrong". The novel can be seen as a historical analysis of the causes of, and the eventual, yet long foreseen, failure of communism in Russia, yet also as a criticism of revolutions of any kind, in general. It tells the story of a group of animals’ dream for equality, justice and freedom from dictatorial rule, which was shattered by the rise of another group of tyrants, in the form of pigs. These pigs, led by the authoritarian Napoleon, abused their power and became corrupt, immoral despots, not dissimilar to the original human despot, Farmer Jones.

Animal Farm tells the simple and tragic story of what happens when the oppressed and uncared for farm animals rebel against their cruel and incapable master; Mr. Jones. The animals are spurred into action by a rousing speech from the respected Old Major, a wise, elderly pig that represents Karl Marx and/or Lenin. The animals, led by the pigs, install a form of governance that focuses around the dream that all animals will live on the farm happily, with equality, fairness and freedom. What the animals seem to have aimed for was a utopian sort of communism, where each and every animal would work according to his capacity for the benefit of the collective farm. The venture failed, and Animal Farm ended up being ruled by the tyrannical pigs, led by Napoleon. In the novel, there is an effective switch of totalitarian rule, from the incapable and despotic rule of Mr. Jones to the equally dictatorial and oppressive rule of the pigs, especially Napoleon.

The key to Orwell’s ability to present such a cleverly planned, executed and...

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