Animal Farm Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

Animal Farm book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is the significance of the change in the commandment, "No animal shall drink alcohol," in chapter 8? In chapter 8, the animals find that the commandment had been changed to, "No animal shall drink alcohol to excess," instead of, "No animal shall drink alcohol." 

Expert Answers info

Thomas Mccord eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write2,299 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

To understand the significance of this quote, you need to look a little further back in the story. Remember that just before this change, the pigs find a case of whisky in the farmhouse cellar. That night, they drink the whisky and get very drunk, so drunk that Napoleon has a hangover the next day. Instead of telling the animals that Napoleon has a serious hangover, the pigs realize that this is a great opportunity to further blacken Snowball’s reputation. As a result, Squealer declares that Snowball has tried to poison Napoleon. So, on the one hand, this quote is proof that the pigs have lied to the other animals about Napoleon’s hangover.

This quote is also significant because it demonstrates just how corrupt and increasingly human the pigs have become. In the beginning, it was declared that no animal should drink alcohol because alcohol is associated with human behavior. Now, the pigs are replicating this human behavior and, even worse, changing the commandments so that they can indulge in this behavior whenever they choose—even though it goes against the principles of Animalism.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write10,783 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

The significance of this subtle change is that Napoleon is bending the rules to suit himself. The Seven Commandments of Animalism, originally laid down by Old Major, are supposed to be sacrosanct. But Napoleon never really believed in them; he simply used them for propaganda purposes as and when it suited him.

But as Napoleon consolidates his rule, he realizes that the Commandments in their original form have become something of a burden, preventing him from doing exactly what he wants. So he changes them, and in doing so, he eases the transition from pig to human, which is what Napoleon really wanted to be all along. It's largely because of the changes to the Seven Commandments that, at the end of the book, the animals can look from man to pig and from pig to man and find it impossible to say which is which.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write10,089 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

Originally, the Fifth Commandment prohibits animals from drinking alcohol. At the beginning of the novella, Old Major warned the animals about adopting human habits and...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 699 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now



Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write15,968 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial