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Animal Farm Theme of Power: Leadership and Corruption

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danni kibel

on 4 June 2014

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Transcript of Animal Farm Theme of Power: Leadership and Corruption

Introduction
That power corrupts is an inevitable conclusion of Animal Farm. When the pigs take over they claim that their goal is to preside over a farm of equal animals, all working together to support one another. Yet power quickly proves to be too much for a pig. Small privileges quickly bloom into full-scale corruption, and the pigs begin more and more to resemble those whom they claim to replace.
Questions About Power: Leadership and Corruption
3. How do you define power, anyway? What does it mean to have power on Animal Farm? Is it possible for leaders to have this kind of power without abusing it?

What qualities allow the pigs to gain power in the first place, and what qualities enable them to keep power? Are these different?

In
Animal Farm
, the smartest animals, and the ones who inspired (Old Major) and lead the revolution, are the pigs. The other animals on Manor Farm look to them for leadership and are willing to follow them. The pigs, especially Squealer, convince the animals that they know what's best for the animals.

When the pigs begin to sleep in humans' beds, drink alcohol, and act as man, the animals only question it a handful of time. The pigs (secretly) change the commandments set in place after the revolution, and for explanation to all the animals, Napoleon says,
"The truest happiness lay in working hard and living frugally."

The qualities that allow Napoleon and the pigs to keep power are that they are smart, but this is different than in the beginning, the cleverness used throughout the timeline changes, and the pigs become deceitful and they lie. Napoleon then uses fear and violence to stay in power, once Snowball won't be shoved away with a few words
.

What does it mean to have power on Animal Farm?

Is it possible to have this kind of power without abusing it?
George Orwell felt that without checks and balances, people naturally gravitate towards corruption. In
Animal Farm
, once Napoleon had taken power in his hands, he wanted more. Because Napoleon was able to gain full control on Animal Farm, he was able to fulfill his own needs before anyone else, without the fear of being overthrown.
Are the pigs self-serving from the start, or are they corrupted by their power?
At first, things go well after driving the men away from the farm. The animals work together for the common good, but the pigs begin to fight over power. Snowball and Napoleon begin to compete for power, until Napoleon eventually drives Snowball out of Animal Farm. Many people say the pigs are self-serving from the start and others say that they are corrupted by power, but in all honesty, Napoleon is both self-serving from the start and further corrupted by power.
"Napoleon was a large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar, the only Berkshire on the farm, not much of a talker, but with a reputation for getting his own way."
In Chapter two of
Animal Farm
Napoleon is introduced as being known to get
his own way
. Napoleon is then further corrupted by power after he takes leadership. An example of Napoleon being self-serving is that as soon as Napoleon and Snowball seize power, Napoleon begins to drink the cows' good milk for himself, and both pigs gradually begin to give all pigs a higher benefit than the other animals.

As for the other pigs, they become corrupted by power, they begin to desire the higher benefits they had and this resulted in them becoming self-serving, to only act for their benefit.

Animal Farm Theme of Power:
Leadership and Corruption
1. Are the pigs self-serving from the start, or are they corrupted by their power? (By the way, the world has never been able to agree on this.)
2. What qualities allow the pigs to gain power in the first place, and what qualities enable them to keep their power? Are these different?
To have power on Animal Farm meant to be the first in line for anything good, to be the one who everyone obeyed and praised. At least, that's the way it is for Napoleon. Napoleon wanted power on Animal Farm, not for the better of all the animals, but for his own needs. Without the animals, Napoleon would not be able to supply himself with everything he wanted, so he had to make himself look good, while installing fear into every animal.
Now, is it possible to have this kind of power without abusing it? Does anyone really know? To have absolute rule, to have such power, and you would tell me you wouldn't begin to enjoy it and crave it? Napoleon is naturally self-serving, but even still, the possibility of having power without become corrupt isn't necessarily the usual outcome. Orwell wanted to depict the fact that history often repeats itself, so maybe Orwell didn't believe in there being a just ruler.
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