What was the role of Moses the raven in Orwell's Animal Farm?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Moses is described as a "tame raven." He is obviouly intended to represent established religion, which is being threatened by various ideologies including socialism and communism. Moses is described in detail in Chapter II of Orwell's novel. He was "Mr. Jones's especial pet" (because he kept the animals docile and obedient with his incredible tales about "a mysterious country called Sugarcandy Mouhtain  [heaven] to which all animals went when they died." The message of the raven was that animals should accept the unjustice status quo because it was only temporary and they were all going to heaven after they had been worked to death. Moses informed on animals to Mr. Jones and didn't do any work on the farm. Many animals had ceased to believe in Sugarcandy Mountain and hated Moses, but a few of them still believed his old stories. Religious belief in Orwell's time was declining and being replaced with ideologies. Orwell was a democratic socialist and thought that religion was sustaining capitalism and privileged, exploiting classes; but he did not support totalitarianism as represented by fascism in Spain, Italy and Germany, and communism, as represented in the Soviet Union and spreading ominously.