How is the theme power and corruption presented in animal farm?
Lawyer, Hafidh, Teacher
These themes are explored through the events and characters in the novel, and are an allegory for the Russian Revolution. The theme of power, control and corruption is explored throughout the novel and is highlighted by the characters' relationships on the farm. Examples: 1) Mr Jones uses his power over the animals. It is suggested that Mr Jones uses physical violence to maintain control of the animals. ‘Bit and spur shall rust forever, Cruel whips no more shall crack’ They sing about the 'crack' of his whip in the song 'Beasts of England'. The song is about animals overthrowing man and being free which brings us to point two: 2) The animals use their own power to take control of the farm. They gang up on Mr Jones and his men and physically kick them off the farm. The pigs use the power of speech or rhetoric to maintain their control of the other animals. ‘...this sudden uprising of creatures whom they were used to thrashing and maltreating just as they chose, frightened them almost out of their wits’ The animals surprise the men with their 'sudden' change in behaviour - it frightens the men to see the animals using their power. Corruption: Orwell explores the idea of power leading to corruption. Many of the characters in the novel are eventually corrupted by the power they have as they manipulate their position of leadership to exploit other animals. Example: The pigs take charge and begin to control the other animals. Napoleon uses Squealer and the dogs to stop the animals' questions about the windmill. ‘Squealer spoke so persuasively, and the three dogs who happened to be with him growled so threateningly, that they accepted his explanation without further questions’ Between Squealer being so 'persuasive' and the dogs so 'threatening' the pigs control the animals by preventing them questioning their decisions. — It is important to remember that even though the novel is based on events that took place in 1917, these themes are still relevant today.
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