11 April 2013
Animalism: The Marx of a Beast
When Old Major had a dream, few speculated that it would ultimately turn into a nightmare for the inhabitants of Animal Farm. Old Major fantasized about a free society where animals would live in harmony and where they would work for themselves as opposed to working for free and being deprived of their work by humans who would use it for their own profit. Old Major illustrates the suppression of the animals which strongly resembles the work of Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan when he states, “our lives are miserable, laborious, and short…and the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty.” (Orwell, 28) Soon after, the animals revolted and seized control of Manor Farm. This led to the creation and eventual abuse of the Seven Commandments of Animalism. The pigs learned to bend the rules in their favor in order to grow their power over the other animals through the use of propaganda. Eventually, the struggle for equality comes to a standstill and ultimately regresses once a power struggle ensues which leads to an autonomous ruler rising to power and imposing his tyrannical rule over his subjects. Regardless of the original intentions before taking over the farm, corruption scars Animal Farm by creating irreparable damage to the ideologies instilled by the fraudulent, once idealistic, pigs. Originally, the Seven Commandments of Animalism strongly reflected the ideas of the Communist Manifesto. They both share the message of equality and distinguishing themselves from anything bourgeoisie. In retrospect, Animal Farm is a solid commendation of Marxist theory by Orwell, but Orwell clearly depicts his stance against the ideologies adopted by Napoleon which were ultimately tainted with despotic fervor. Napoleon progressively distances himself from the founding principles of Old Major as the story moves on, and establishes his dictatorial rule that beleaguered the animals and eventually corrupted the original Marxist perspective. To begin with, Napoleon consistently altered The Seven Commandments of Animalism through forms of cunning and manipulation in order to accommodate his ulterior motives which were aimed at thrusting him into power as the sovereign ruler of Animal Farm. It is important to note that the pigs initially took it upon themselves to become literate, but failed to educate the rest of the animals appropriately. Knowledge is a form of oppression that is abused by the pigs to subjugate the animals. With the animals being neglected and denied of the right to communicate on effective terms, the stage has been set for the pigs to successfully hijack command of the farm by taking advantage of the obliviousness of the animals. With the pigs assuming power, the animals learned to simply agree with everything the pigs say because they do not know any better and lack a basis for comparison when it comes to a utopian society. The reluctance by the animals to ever question Napoleon’s tactics due to their gullibility and fear of his retribution led to Boxer adopting the new axiom, “Napoleon is always right.” (Orwell, 70) Consequently, the pigs established the Seven Commandments of Animalism which “would form an unalterable law by which all animals on Animal Farm must live for ever after.” (Orwell, 42) These principles would serve as a mantra for the animals to adhere to, but more importantly as laws put in place used to regulate the behavior of all animals. Given that the pigs were the smartest animals on the farm and everyone else’s intelligence was subpar, the rest of the animals simply nodded and accepted these new changes, and the pigs successively enforced their new plans unchallenged. The new changes which occurred after-the-fact always involved an alteration to the Commandments by Napoleon’s henchmen, Squealer. With a simple stroke of the paint brush and the addition of two...
References: Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York City: Penguin, 1996. Print.
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