- What is the lesson contained in the final commandment; “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”?
This is a question from my English assignment. I don't really understand whether it is talking about the lesson for the animals or the lesson for the reader. Help!
The initial revolt came about because of the inequality between Mr. Jones and the animals ... the animals did all the work, and Jones received all the benefits (remember, that this is about a totalitarian government and we can replace Jones with "leader" and animals with "the people.") One of the goals of the revolution is the equal distribution of the farm's profits among all the animals. However, as the revolution "progresses," some animals (the pigs) rise to the top, and they replace Mr. Jones. They look like him, act like him, and, although the original promise was equality for all, it is clear that they are only equal among themselves, but superior to all the other animals. So we have two classes just as we had before ... and there are 2 "equalities." Thus, some animals are more "equal" than others.
Orwell intends for the reader to take away the lesson from this story, though he probably wouldn't mind if the animals themselves woke up and began to understand more clearly what is happening to them. The lesson we are to take away is that language can easily be twisted and manipulated by people in power to serve their own needs if common people are not ever-vigilant and careful about not being deceived. The final commandment, which states that all animals are equal but some are more equal than others, twice uses a word, "equal." This term is comforting and reassuring to the animals, who have rebelled against Farmer Jones and want to believe their new society is based on equality. However, the word as used in this new commandment has been twisted into the opposite of its true meaning and makes a mockery of the animals' ideals. "Equal" might sound good, but in this commandment it means the opposite of what "equality" really stands for. If some animals are more equal than others, then the animals' society is hierarchical rather than equal. In fact, all the animals are manifestly not equal: the pigs are simply using this commandment to try to justify the power grab that has allowed them to exploit the other animals and set themselves apart as superior. We as humans, Orwell says, must scrutinize language carefully so that we are not, like the animals, tricked by clever words.