The Universal Observations on Human Nature

The Universal Observations on Human Nature

Animal Farm Essay
By Matthew Goodwin

The events and characters in “Animal Farm”, composed by George Orwell are an allegory of the Russian Revolution. However, Orwell also makes universal observations on human nature, which is unchanging. Therefore, the novel remains relevant. Essentially, Orwell illustrates the truth of the statement by Lord Acton, that “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, that humans are motivated by greed and the desire for power.

Orwell presents the story as an animal fable, symbolising and satirising Soviet Communism. He shows that the principles are fair and reasonable, that everyone should be equal, that the animals should get more than the bare minium required for survival. However, Orwell shows through the actions of the animals, the pigs in particular that is not possible to put a system of equality into practice.

Orwell argues that when people are given power, they abuse it. The pigs taking advantage of the situation in the novel represents this, the pigs are corrupted, to take everything for themselves, and take advantage of the less intelligent animal whom, ironically, the communists were meant to save from exploitation. This is shown in the novel by the pigs gradually acquiring extra luxuries over the other animals e.g. the pigs take the milk and apples for themselves, but justify their actions by saying “don’t think we like eating apples and drinking milk, we are doing it to preserve our health. It is for your sake that we eat these apples and drink this milk”. This action represents the early corruption of the idea that all animals are equal.

Orwell suggests that people have unlimited wants and when they are put in power will change the rules to make life more comfortable for themselves without thinking about the welfare of others. This is shown in the novel when the pigs make apparently very slight changes to the rules of animalism e.g. “no animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets”. Each of these...

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