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Discuss Animal Farm as a satire of mankind’s propensity to seek absolute power for...

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smartyteacher101 | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 12, 2013 at 9:16 PM via web

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Discuss Animal Farm as a satire of mankind’s propensity to seek absolute power for good reasons but thereafter abuse it. Does the satire show that absolute power corrupts absolutely? 

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 13, 2013 at 12:46 AM (Answer #1)

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Orwell's work does speak as a satire of the rise to power under noble intentions only to see it corrupted by the daily world of political power. Orwell is able to contrast how Old Major envisions political power in the opening of the work to how the Pigs end up executing it.  Part of the motivation of satire is to "change the behavior" being satirized.  It is evident that Orwell wishes to change the thinking regarding the Russian Revolution.  He wishes to alter the view of Stalin as one that sought to embrace Marxist tenets.  He wishes to satirize the idea that the Revolution's aims are being met with the current condition of Soviet government.  He also wishes to satirize the idea that government does not stray from the will of the people.

In the satire, Orwell is able to demonstrate that absolute power does lead to the ability to corrupt absolutely.  Orwell is able to satirize the condition of Animalism as laying pretense to a system of government that replicates Jones' leadership with more ferocity and intensity.  Orwell's work satirizes the idea that political leadership does not go astray and that individuals can blindly trust government as an institution to protect them and selflessly look after their interests.  It is through this satirical view that one sees how absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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