In Animal Farm, how does "Beasts of England" compare with Minimus's poem "Comrade Napoleon?"

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator


"Beasts of England" is a revolutionary song, created to foster feelings of dissent in the animals. It focuses on the equality of animalkind and the opposition to humanity, uniting all the animals in the pursuit of freedom from servitude and exploitation by humans. This can be seen in the following stanza:

Soon or late the day is coming,
Tyrant Man shall be o'erthrown,
And the fruitful fields of England
Shall be trod by beasts alone.

It does not give thanks to a higher power, or allow for the lifting of one animal or type of animal over others. The central theme throughout the song is freedom, and liberty from oppression.

In contrast, the poem composed by Minimus is a gushing ode to Napoleon's superiority, his bravery, and his care for all animals (all imaginary):

Thou are the giver of
All that thy creatures love,
Thou watchest over all,
Comrade Napoleon!
(Orwell, Animal Farm,

This gives Napoleon far too much credit, and ascribes the welfare of the animals to Napoleon's actions alone. It also gives the impression that Napoleon acts in the greater interest of the animals, despite evidence to the contrary; this means that the animals owe their "freedom" not to their own efforts, but to Napoleon's generosity. Napoleon comes across as a deity, not an equal animal, as if his will alone is all that is necessary to keep the animals "free" from human oppression.