What similarities are there between the language used  in Minimus' poem about Napoleon and the language of hymns?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The language that Minimus uses in his poem to Napoleon is glorifying him, reflective of an almost apotheosizing of the leader.  Comparing Napoleon to "the sun" is an example of how Napoleon is no longer seen as a political leader, but almost as a force of divinity.  Calling him "the giver" and the idea of "thou watchest" helps to bring this out even more.  The hymnal nature of the song is reflective of how Napoleon is viewed and how he wants others to see him.  It is interesting to note that at one point, the animals referred to themselves as "Comrades" and other monikers of equality.  Given the tone and language of Minimus' poem, those moments have completely come to pass with regards to Napoleon.  It is equally interesting that each stanza of the song/ hymn ends with the phrase of "Comrade Napoleon."  This is interesting because while the song stresses "Comrade" as a form of equality in name, it is far from it as each stanza focuses on the greatness of the leader.  In doing so, the apocryphal and almost divine form of Napoleon is illuminated, making him to be god- like figure.  In this, the song is similar to a hymn that praises and deifies the leader at a point where his health might be in question and becomes a small issue in this section.


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