"The road to hell is paved with good intention." How does this quote relate to the novel "Animal Farm"?

Expert Answers
ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Old Major first proposes his vision, it seems like a very possible dream. The animals had never had any leader but Farmer Jones and he was such a poor example of a leader, that the animals felt nothing could get worse. Unfortunately, Old Major dies and does not lead his revolution. Instead, Snowball and Napoleon put Old Major's ideas together and lead the revolution. Although their first intentions seem good, they find power and the temptations that go with it very enticing. The animals, who were never trained in democratic leadership and participation, are more than willing to be unquestioning followers. This allows Napoleon time to train his dogs and develop more hunger for power. Thus, the good intentions of the revolution, as shown in the commandments that first appear, eventually are changed and life becomes even more difficult for the animals. Although they are supposed to be free, they are more enslaved than ever.

drgreen | Student

"The good intentions" was the animals' (Major's) attempt to create an egalitarian society. The intent was good; however, as Orwell is saying the very effort of gaining power makes one power hungry. They become all the things they hate most about those in power. They end up "on the road to Hell." Orwell is commenting on the inherent nature of people to be corrupted by power, regardless of their original intent. Examples of this would be - the Communist Revolution as well as the disintergration of post colonial nations after the imperialists withdrew. Though Orwell was an anti-imperialist, he witnessed the change in power in India and was disappointed with the violence that followed between Pakistan and India.