In Animal Farm, what is ironic in Chapter 2 based on previous knowledge about the pigs?
Irony is a literary device where words are used to express the opposite of their literal meaning. In chapter 2 the animals risk their lives in order to create a society where they will have power.
What is ironic about this is that even though the animals do fight to rid themselves of their human masters, believing that as their own masters, they will live a happy, productive and full life on the farm. They don't realize that a few among them expect to seize power and force the rest of the animals into submissive labor, food deprivation, lack of sleep and removal from the farm without notice to the executioner.
The animals cast off Farmer Jones, declaring him a tyrant, joyfully they celebrate their new found freedom, when all along the whole process was done to allow the boars, Napoleon and Snowball, at first, to lead the animals. What Snowball does not know is that Napoleon has no intention of sharing power with him. He plans on managing the farm and dictating from a position of complete authority what everyone will do.
The treatment that the animals receive under Napoleon transcends, rises high above anything the farmer ever did to them. Napoleon is cruel, heartless, cold, calculating and exceptionally brutal to the animals as he works them to near death.
They starve while he and his minions feast, they labor, while he sleeps in a bed. They suffer for the farm that they think belongs to the animals, while Napoleon makes deals with the humans. His rule is utterly authoritarian, tyranny and absolute rule with an iron fist.