How do Napoleon's actions of manipulating the commandments for his own benefit affect the animals in terms of control?So, does Napoleon, by changing the commandments around, such as 'no animals...

How do Napoleon's actions of manipulating the commandments for his own benefit affect the animals in terms of control?

So, does Napoleon, by changing the commandments around, such as 'no animals shall drink alcohol' to 'no animals shall drink alcohol to excess" effect the animals, in terms of control?

Basically, anything that links control with changing the commandments, please!

Asked on by ckoun

3 Answers

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Every time Napoleon changes one of the commandments, he takes more control.  For example, when he changes the commandments about sleeping in a bed to add “with sheets” it might seem as though he is not really taking control, but if you think about it he is enabling himself to sleep in the house, the symbol of man, and be more comfortable.  It puts him above everyone else.  The same is true for the fifth commandment, which allows him to drink.  This also contributes to the gluttony of the pigs.

In chapter 8, the commandment “No animal shall kill any other animal” changes to add the words “with cause,” allowing Napoleon to rule by fear.  Finally, they eliminate the commandments altogether:

ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL

BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS

With this commandment, Napoleon can control all of the pigs’ actions.  He has complete control of the farm, and is indistinguishable from the other animals.

 

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andrewnightingale | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Napoleon's actions are a systematic and insidious method of, firstly, claiming and establishing greater privileges and authority for the pigs and, secondly, using such authority to exert power and control over the other animals. It is a gradual process of propaganda in which the animals are consistently made to realize, and later accept, that the pigs are better than them and therefore have the right to claim these privileges and exert their influence.

The process begins with simple enough changes to the commandments such as altering "No animal shall sleep in a bed" to "No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets." When the animals need an explanation, it is quite easy for Snowball to clarify the necessity for the pigs to sleep well. They are the brain workers, and if they don't get adequate rest, they will not be able to perform their tasks well. If they cannot do their work properly, Jones will come back, and, clearly, no one wants that to happen.

The process is repeated whenever a commandment is altered. Initially, the general animal public is not much affected by the changes in a direct sense. It is merely a matter of the pigs being more privileged than they are. Since the animals are of limited intellect and cannot remember the original commandments, it becomes easy to accept the changes. The animals are, however, deeply shocked and dismayed when, in chapter 7, Napoleon uses his vicious dogs to slaughter those he believes have been consorting with the so-called traitor Snowball and were betraying the cause.

By this time, so many of the commandments have been changed, and the pigs have assumed so much authority, that their supervision and control is unquestionable. In this instance, though, many of the animals remember that the sixth commandment states that "No animal shall kill any other animal." When Clover asks Muriel to read the commandment to her, it mentions: "No animal shall kill any other animal without cause." This is enough to convince the animals that the rule has not been broken, because they cannot remember that the last two words weren't always part of the commandment.

But they saw now that the Commandment had not been violated; for clearly there was good reason for killing the traitors who had leagued themselves with Snowball.

It is at this stage that Napoleon assumes even greater power and control. He is referred to as "our Leader, Comrade Napoleon" and given titles such as "Father of All Animals, Terror of Mankind, Protector of the Sheep-fold, Ducklings’ Friend, and the like." He is given credit for everything good that happens on the farm and is praised for his generosity. He has achieved the status of a demi-god when he has, in fact, become a dictator.

The pigs continue to exercise human habits, something Old Major warned against, and when they use money from the sale of timber to buy alcohol, the fifth commandment is adjusted from "No animal shall drink alcohol" to "No animal shall drink alcohol to excess." Once again, the animals seem to have forgotten the last two words. 

In the final chapter, the pigs' total dominance achieves its apex. They start walking on their hind legs. Napoleon appears walking majestically upright, carrying a whip in his right trotter. The animals want to protest, but the sheep start repeatedly bleating, "Four legs good, two legs BETTER!" Finally, to prove that their subjugation and the process of domination by the pigs is complete, all the commandments are replaced by a single, paradoxical rule which reads:

ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL
BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS

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purple97 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

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Napoleon basically is really hungry for power, and changes the seven commandments to fit the pigs need!