Animal Farm Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

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How is power and corruption shown in Animal Farm?

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Adam Worcester eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Power is expressed a number of ways in Animal Farm. Sometimes it is physical intimidation, such as when Napoleon's dogs ran off Snowball. Sometimes it's psychological manipulation, such as when Napoleon suggests that Jones comes back at night. Sometimes it's fact revision; since the pigs know how to read and write, they control what is written, and they can re-shape previous ideas or slogans to fit their needs. Then they psychologically bully the other animals into accepting the changes.

Corruption is likewise expressed in different ways during the story. At first, the animals' "revolution" seems...

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sdrayton1 | Student

In Animal Farm, power and corruption were woven throughout the entire text to display that one can end up being, in the end, the very thing that one despised in the beginning. Orwell's use of literary devices, character development, and dialogue display how power and corruption were used in the novel. Power is first shown by humans, namely Mr. Jones, the brutal and careless owner of the farm. The animals, who are at his mercy, often go unfed, unwatered, and neglected. The cruel treatment of the animals by Mr. Jones causes the animals to join forces, revolt, and take over the Jones' farm by force! The animals' revolt creates a shift in power, as the animals are in control of the farm in Mr. Jones' absence. The animals develop a hierarchy among themselves but vow that animals are far superior to humans, thus the mantra "Four legs good, two legs bad," which is repeated mindlessly by the sheep and others. The use of dialogue shows the steady progression of corruption shown by the pigs.

Since there is no power without some corruption, the animals' hierarchy with Napoleon the pig at the helm, shifts from a "fair" representation of the animals being one united front to Napoleon, Squealer, and Snowball ruling the roost. Instead of all the animals being "equal," in the end, "some animals were deemed more equal than others." Napoleon began conspiring with human beings from neighboring farms and therefore (literally) seemed to morph into a human being-the very force that the animals despised in the beginning. Napoleon was witnessed wearing clothes, drinking alcohol, writing checks, and also walking on two legs. While two legs were deemed as "bad," the pigs' corruption and abuse of power coupled with dim-witted animals, changed the mantra to "Four legs good, two legs better." Literary devices such as satire and allegory bring everything full circle in the novel.

Power and corruption were evident in Animal Farm through character development, dialogue, and literary devices.

wilsonzahra | Student

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maryam-a412 | Student

Lord Acton quotes "Power corrupts and absolute power absolutely." Animal Farm is a true depiction of this quote. the pigs attain power initially. when they exercise that power and see the after math of it, they are delighted. this is a very common idea that every powerful man gets corrupted at some point in his journey to attain power. corruption is inevitable in power. this ultimatum is depicted in animal farm. the pigs revel the power they are bestowed with. although the start is filled with sincerity to confer freedom to animals from the brutal humans but soon their motive gets tainted with private lust for power. when the pigs are granted a little power, they see its effect is good. everyone respects them, they start leading all and this leadership, the ability to dictate a huge group arouses thirst to attain more power. to gain more power they get corrupted. and soon they are mere doppelgangers of what they previously stood against-the humans. power goes hand in hand with corruption. power is not just a word but a force, a very moving force which compels man to enact many actions. it makes him corrupt and dangerous and the sole reason is lust for power. this lust is also evident when the trio of pigs later compete in the race for power. the once united house is now divided all due to power.

another brilliant example of power and corruption is Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare.

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