Why are animals willing subjects of the pigs' tyranny, & what are the mechanisms of control through which power is exercised in Animal Farm?Animal Farm is a social allegory that outlines...

Why are animals willing subjects of the pigs' tyranny, & what are the mechanisms of control through which power is exercised in Animal Farm?

Animal Farm is a social allegory that outlines oppression,dictatorship,revolutions and governance. Social Theorist Antonio Gramsci described power as a shifting and evolving entity. it is never complete at any certain time, and is therefore vulnerable to challenge. On the other hand, Lord Acton's warning of power's tendency to corrupt casts a grim shadow upon those at helm. As Snowball and Napoleon take the reins of supremacy, the animals begin to suffer a different kind of oppression. WHY ARE THEY WILLING SUBJECTS OF THE PIGS TYRANNY?  WHAT ARE THE MECHANISMS OF CONTROL THROUGH WHICH POWER IS EXERCISED?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The farm animals willingly follow the pigs because when the revolution first takes place, the pigs seize the opportunity to take on leadership roles.  The animals partly accept this because of Old Major's memory but also because at this point in the satire, anything is better than life was under Mr. Jones. In this, Orwell is satirizing the Russian working class's trust in Lenin and later in Stalin (at first).  They felt that their lives would be better than it was under the czar.

Later, as the situation worsens on the farm, the animals continue to follow Napoleon and the others because the pigs have slowly erased clear memories of the past and have used propaganda techniques (scare tactics, lesser of two evils, assertions, etc.) and brute force to supprress any dissenters. Again, this is similar to Stalin's great purges and use of propaganda.

As far as specific mechanisms of control, fear is Napoleon's primary method of manipulation.  He uses the dogs to enforce his ideals.  Similarly, Napoleon relies on political rhetoric and feel-good trickery to make the animals think that they're are content or at least that their situation will improve.  Squealer is Napoleon's mouthpiece in this aspect.