How does Animal Farm relate to the seven deadly sins?

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

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I don't see Orwell as seeking to write a religious or spiritual work with Animal Farm.  Accordingly, I don't see the seven deadly sins as part of the work's construction.  Yet, given that Orwell is exploring the corruptibility of beings when they assume political power and social control, these behaviors are evident.  For example, Napoleon's desire to represent the end to all power to the point where glorification of his rule is the standard on the farm is representative of pride.  When he urinates on Snowball's plans for the windmill and in his constant desire to rid himself of Snowball as a potential for political rivalry, I think that one can see envy as being represented.  Napoleon becomes wrath in chapter seven when his brutality is shown in the public executions and staged confessions.  The manner in which those who are accused are killed, with dogs ripping out their throats is one filled with wrath.  The deals that Napoleon makes with the neighboring farms, and the wealth that is generated from it could be seen as examples of greed, for Napoleon and the Pigs do not moderate their appetites for both economic wealth and the indulgences that come with it.  It is implied in the text that the reason there are so many pigs on the farm in the later chapters is due to Napoleon's sexual activity, representative of lust.  When the pigs and Napoleon succumb to drink and eat in an indulgent and opulent manner, while the other animals barely have enough to survive, gluttony is seen.  Finally, Napoleon and the leadership of the Pigs represents sloth in their apathetic manner in which they approach the suffering of the animals on the farm, where little is done to alleviate such hardship, but rather deny its basic existence.  In this, sloth makes the pigs and the  humans no different on how the animals are exploited.

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