In Animal Farm, how do the pigs betray the other animals?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Another way that the pigs betray the others is through their manipulation of the Seven Commandments. To see this in action, compare the Seven Commandment in chapter 2 with the single Commandment from chapter 10.

What you'll notice is that over time, the pigs manipulate the Commandments so that they enjoy a better standard of living than the others and, more importantly, so that their absolute power cannot be challenged.

In chapter 2, for example, the Commandments made every animal equal and forbade any behavior associated with humans, like wearing clothes or sleeping in a bed. But, as the novel progresses, the pigs want to live better than the other animals, so they change the Commandments accordingly. By the final chapter, there is only one Commandment and it strongly asserts the pigs' special status and dominance: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

This manipulation of the Seven Commandments is, therefore, a betrayal because it gives the pigs an elevated status and lots of privileges. They are no better off under the pigs than they were under Mr. Jones.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When the animals revolt, it is assumed that all the animals will participate in working for the common good, as Old Major wanted. However, the pigs are smarter than the other animals, and use their intelligence to avoid working:

The pigs did not actually work, but directed and supervised the others. With their superior knowledge it was natural that they should assume the leadership.
(Orwell, Animal Farm,

At first, this can be seen as performing the role of supervisor; without their knowledge of human tools and reading, the other animals would have had a very hard time learning to use tools or working the harvest. However, even from the beginning, it is clear that the pigs are gaming the system; they keep the milk from the cows for themselves, on the pretext of needing extra nutrition for thinking. Eventually, they move into the role of master even more than Farmer Jones ever had, completing the cycle of a failed revolution.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial