In chapter ten of Animal Farm, the pigs start walking on two legs. Is this a sign of progress?

When the pigs start walking on two feet in chapter 10 of Animal Farm, it could be seen as progress in that the pigs have evolved. Acting like humans gives them greater power and makes it harder for humans to exploit them.

On the other hand, this is a betrayal of the Animalist philosophy of Old Major. He wanted animals to be proud of what they were, and to regard human beings as their enemies.

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By the time we reach the end of Animal Farm, the ruling pigs have become so much like humans that they've even started walking on two legs. It wasn't supposed to be like this. Old Major's teachings always asserted the vast differences between humans and animals. Humans were the animals' enemy, the hated oppressor whose power needed to be overturned.

According to the first of the Seven Commandments of Animalism, "Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy." And yet not only have Napoleon and his gang been trading with the enemy, they've even started walking like them as well. This is a massive betrayal of Old Major's liberating philosophy.

Is this progress? From an evolutionary perspective, perhaps. If pigs are more like humans, then they'll be much less likely to be exploited by them. One could reasonably surmise that the consumption of pork and bacon in neighboring towns and villages is set to decline sharply for the foreseeable future.

But the consequences for the other animals on the farm won't be quite so progressive. The pigs' growing humanlike qualities will make it much easier for them to maintain their tyrannical dictatorship, and now with the active support of the hated human oppressor. Walking on two legs may be progress for Napoleon and his cabal, but it's a backward step to the rest of the farm animals.

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The transition from four legs to two legs could be considered both progression as well as regression. If you look at it from the perspective of the pigs, then it absolutely is progress.  It is an important stage in their transformation (specifically Napoleon) into the similar figure of a human-like dictator that once tyrannically, callously, and with self-indulgence, governed the farm (allegorically connected to Stalin’s evolution into a tyrannical leader after the overthrow of the tsar, Nicholas II of Russia). Orwell does an excellent job demonstrating this correlation when he creates a revelation with the “other” animal characters that Napoleon (and the other pigs) is now discernable from the other humans in the room. By the end of Orwell’s novella, the pigs had effectively moved into the role of a self-serving government whose “progress” on the farm was founded upon not only the exploitation of the lesser, and significantly less intelligent, animals, but also on the use of manipulation tactics aimed at keeping the exploited animals subservient through menial labor, lack of rights and the removal of their voices.

However, if you consider this question from the alternate angle of the farm animals, then it is a regressive action. The non-pig animals begin with a hope and dream of utopia through socialism only to have it destroyed by the manipulative and malevolent methods of self-serving “comrades.” For example, due to their lack of intelligence—evident in their continuous inability to recognize the changing rules, the shift in labor and the special allowances being extended to only the pigs— they remain in a subservient role until it is too late. This allows Napoleon’s transition to take place, along with the other pigs. Many of them don’t even recognize the atrocity of Boxer’s murder as an indicator; in contrast, most of them continue to follow the glittering rhetoric provided by Snowball as he contorts the truth to comfort them. So, the pig’s transition from four legs to two legs could actually be considered symbolic of regression as it relates to the destruction of the socialistic ideal initially glorified by Old Major at the beginning. In addition, the transformation from four legs to two legs also substantiates Orwell’s theme of corrupt governmental institutions finding success through the disenfranchisement of its ‘people.’

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"Progress" can be seen in a couple of lights with the ending of Orwell's work.  On one hand, I think that the pigs have shown a sense of progress on the level of power.  They have become the unquestioned source of authority on the farm.  No one can come close to challenging their power and the walking on two legs allows them to rise above all other animals.  In fact, the other animals no longer see any difference between the pigs and the humans.  This might be where the concept of progress comes into question.  After the revolution or change in power, there has been no fundamental change with the pigs in power.  Napoleon represents the same stifling authority that Old Major spoke out against in rebelling against humans, which have now been replaced with pigs.  The structure of power is still one that comes from "top down" and in this light, little progress to advance the cause of a change in power and conditions that govern it has been made.  It is the very idea of asking what defines "progress" that the ending of Orwell's work brings out to the reader.  It is Orwell's genius to provide an ending that ends up representing a starting point to generating questions about what defines power and change.  In this light, the pigs walking on two legs is an image where little is decided for the reader, but much has been raised for discussion and debate.

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