Animal Farm Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

Animal Farm book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In the last chapter of Animal Farm, what has become of the commandment about animal equality?

Expert Answers info

tmcquade eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write127 answers

starTop subject is Literature

In chapter 2 of Animal Farm, the seven commandments are laid out, with the final commandment being: "All animals are equal."  This is supposed to form the basis for Animalism.  However, by the end of the book, all of the commandments have been changed, even this ultimate foundational principle.

By the last chapter, the animals have all but forgotten the hopes and dreams they initially had for the farm, and they have resigned themselves to a life of toil:

The luxuries of which Snowball had once taught the animals to dream, the stalls with electric light and hot and cold water, and the three-day week, were no longer talked about. Napoleon had denounced such ideas as contrary to the spirit of Animalism. The truest happiness, he said, lay in working hard and living frugally.

Only a few of the original animals remain, and even their memories are growing dim.  Some recall that they had once hoped for a better life, and that they had at one time been promised a life of ease in their retirement, but they have grown accustomed to their austere lifestyle:

Only old Benjamin professed to remember every detail of his long life and to know that things never had been, nor ever could be much better or much worse - hunger, hardship, and disappointment being, so he said, the unalterable law of life.

Despite all this, the animals continue to hold on to their hope of a better future - that is, until they see the pigs march out on their hind legs, breaking the very first commandment that "whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy" as they do so:

Then there came a moment when the first shock had worn off and when, in spite of everything - in spite of their terror of the dogs, and of the habit, developed through long years, of never complaining, never criticising, no matter what happened - they might have uttered some word of protest. But just at that moment, as though at a signal, all the sheep burst out into a tremendous bleating of - "Four legs good, two legs better! Four legs good, two legs better! Four legs good, two legs better!"

After this, Clover has Benjamin follow her to the wall where the commandments were originally written.  Though Clover cannot read the words, she knows the wall somehow looks different, and she asks Benjamin to read it for her.  Though he normally would refuse to do so, here he reads:

There was nothing there now except a single Commandment. It ran: ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.

Soon after this, the pigs host a group of humans for a tour of the farm, as well as a meal, drinks, and card game.  As both Napolean and Mr. Pilkington play the ace of spades, both obviously cheating, the animals stand outside watching:

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

The pigs have become "human" in their greed, corruption, decadence, dishonesty, laziness, and disregard for others.  There is no more equality on Animal Farm - it has returned full circle to become "Manor Farm" once again.

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

jeremydodson | Student

This commandment is not being followed anymore, especially by the pigs. They think they are better than everyone else because they can live in the house, wear clothing and take all the apples and milk from all the other animals. The pigs are also using the sheep to their advantage by telling them to repeat the phrase: "Four legs good, two legs bad." Eventually the pigs start walking on two legs so then the saying changes. The pigs are also using the puppiesa in the beginning of the book and turning them into gaurd dogs to guard the pigs from all the other animals. The other animals are thinking that the pigs are becoming like humans. For example, they are selling the eggs that the chickens lay to Mr. Whimple just for money.