Discuss "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" based on Animal Farm.

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

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I think that the basic idea of how power can be a corrupting influence would have to be seen with Napoleon in the early stages of the farm's control.  Orwell describes how both Napoleon and Snowball are able to assert control, but that there was something inherent in the former's character that made him almost predisposed to coveting power.  It is in this element that the notion of absolute power corrupts absolutely is highly evident.  Napoleon views power as a way to reflect his own identity, or his own "cult of personality." Similar to Stalin, Napoleon views power as an extension of himself and his own identity.  Accordingly, as his faith in himself increases, so does his power.  It is here where the notion of corruption is evident.  Napoleon views control as essential to ensuring that his power is unquestioned, and his ability to consolidate it is reflective of his desire to maximize total influence over the direction and affairs of the farm.  Accordingly, his use of forced confessions, forced loyalty amongst the animals, and the basic premises of not being questioned in any way is what makes him embody the idea that power corrupts in an absolute manner.

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