What is an example of irony in Animal Farm?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The major irony in Animal Farm is that the glorious revolution does not actually change much in the lives of the animals, and in fact leaves them worse off in many ways. While they were exploited for their meat and work under Jones, he never expressed any other opinion to them, and they had a generally typical life when he wasn't drinking. After the revolution, when the animals expect their work burden to decrease and their personal benefits to increase, it turns out the exact opposite; the animals are forced to work even harder to support the pigs, who elect themselves supreme leaders, and the amount of food in the common pot decreases because the pigs take so much.

By showing the inevitable failure of Marxist ideals as minimized to a single farm, George Orwell shows the irony of expecting revolution to create a changed situation, instead of simply replacing the leaders.