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The significance and main ideas of Old Major's political speech in Animal Farm

Summary:

Old Major's political speech in Animal Farm is significant because it lays the ideological foundation for the animals' rebellion. The main ideas include the exploitation of animals by humans, the need for unity among the animals, and the vision of a utopian society where animals are free and equal. This speech inspires the animals to revolt against their human oppressors.

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What is the significance of Old Major's speech in Animal Farm?

Old Major's speech represents the original teachings that inspire the ideology of Animalism. His speech is an indictment of the human agricultural system that oppresses and brutalizes animals for the gain of humans alone. As he states, life as a farm animal is nothing but misery and exploitation.

However, at the same time, Old Major states that reality does not have to be this way and that the basic agricultural conditions of England would suffice to support all the animals that live on the farm and more. It is not necessity that drives this exploitation but rather human greed alone. In this, Old Major's speech carries with it a revolutionary and utopian dynamic: if the animals were to rebel and humanity were to be removed, then the animals would at last be able to thrive, free of exploitation. Thus, Old Major insists that the animals work towards overthrowing humanity, while taking all pains not to become like their oppressors. All animals are equal, he says, and they must avoid adopting the habits of humankind. He ends his speech by commenting on his dream of a world free of humans, and singing the song Beasts of England for the other animals to hear.

This speech is important, both in the degree to which it represents the original statement of the revolutionary and utopian ideals from which Animalism is sprung, but also in establishing the sheer depths to which the pigs will later sink over the course of the book (particularly once Napoleon takes over) as they take humanity's place as the oppressors of the farm.

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What is the significance of Old Major's speech in Animal Farm?

In the opening chapter of the novella, Old Major gives a moving, passionate speech which influences the animals to examine their tragic plight and motivates them to rebel against Mr. Jones. Old Major begins his memorable speech by expressing his obligation to share his wisdom before he passes away and enlighten the animals about the nature of their miserable lives. He states that all animals experience arduous lives before they are eventually slaughtered by humans.

Old Major makes it clear that no animal in England is free and the "life of an animal is misery and slavery." He then poses a hypothetical question regarding whether or not their terrible lives are simply the order of nature before asserting that Man is the sole reason for their suffering. According to old Major, "Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished forever."

Old Major goes on to give numerous examples of the way humans cheat, manipulate, and torture animals for their own benefit while the animals suffer. After describing the wicked deeds of humans, Old Major offers a solution to dramatically improve their lives by rebelling against their masters. He challenges the animals to imagine a life without humans or suffering before giving them several valuable tenets to follow.

After Old Major warns the animals not to resemble humans or behave like them, he recalls his magnificent dream. Old Major describes his dream about living in a world free of humans, which reminds him of a song that was "sung by the animals of long ago." He proceeds to sing Beast of England, and the animals join in.

Old Major's speech is significant because it enlightens the animals to their tragic circumstances, identifies Man as their true enemy, and motivates them to rebel. His speech also lays the foundation for Animalism, which is a "complete system of thought" that allegorically represents communism. The animals are inspired by old Major's speech and eventually rebel against Mr. Jones on Midsummer's Eve.

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What is the significance of Old Major's speech in Animal Farm?

Old Major makes his speech to the other animals in Chapter One of Animal Farm. To begin, his speech is inspired by two facts: firstly, Old Major thinks that he does not have long left to live and, therefore, wishes to pass on his knowledge and wisdom. Secondly, he has had a strange dream which he would like to share with the animals.

Old Major goes on to explain to the animals that their life is "miserable" and "short" because Man, the only animal who "consumes without producing," has made it that way. Man is tyrannical, cruel and self-interested: he does not care about the animals on his farm, only about taking the fruits of their labor. As such, Old Major believes that the only possible solution is for the animals to overthrow Man. This idea is linked to his dream, in which Man had vanished and the world was very different. It also reminds him of a song that his mother used to sing to him called "Beasts of England," which Old Major teaches to the others.

Old Major's speech is significant because it plants the idea of rebellion in the minds of the other animals. For the first time, they start to see Man as the true enemy and themselves as the victims of real oppression. As such, the speech is both educational and inspiring. 

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What is the significance of Old Major's speech in Animal Farm?

Old Major was a well-respected boar on Animal Farm. He recently had a dream and felt the need to share this "vision" with the other animals on the farm, a vision of the animals overthrowing their human oppressors and running the farm themselves.

He began to describe to the animal assembly that man is their enemy and no animal is free until they rid themselves of him: "Man is the only enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished forever" (29).

He continue his disapproval of man and rallies the animals to begin planning for a rebellion-maybe not anytime soon, but he stressed the need for it sometime in the future. He teaches them the rally song "Beasts of England" during the meeting, which gets the animals all excited, awakening Mr. Jones, the farmer.

It can be argued that Old Major represents Karl Marx, and that his speech motivated the animals to take action and rebel against their oppressors.

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What are your thoughts on Old Major's rebellion speech in Animal Farm?

It is interesting to look at the efforts of Old Major to use persuasive techniques.

He uses the rhetorical question: "You cows that I see before me, how many thousands of gallons of milk have you given during the last year?"

He uses the emotional persuasive appeal of fear: "You young porkers... every one of you will scream your lives out at the block within a year. To that horror we must all come -"

He uses the logical persuasive appeal by expressing to animals they do all the work, the humans profit from it.

He uses the charged words "comrade" and "Rebellion!" Each of these has connotation. A comrade is a friend, uniting all animals with an equal part in this process. Rebellion is a strong act and thus has an emotional charge. Rebellion in this regard cannot be done alone, but must be done as a group.

Throughout the speech you see other instances of propaganda and persuasion... stereo-typing, slogan, authority (he establishes himself as an older more credible judge than the rest).

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What are your thoughts on Old Major's rebellion speech in Animal Farm?

My first impression of the speech is that it makes a lot of sense as long as you accept the basic premise that the animals are intelligent beings.  It is clear that the animals are being oppressed and it is clear that it is the people that are doing it.

What is less clear is that getting rid of the people will solve everything.  It would take away that particular oppressor, but true equality will require that the animals will not have the same ambitions that people do.  Old Major assumes that they will not.  He assumes they will live in harmony.  But that is just an assumption  and it turns out to be wrong.

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In Animal Farm, what is the main idea of Old Major's political speech?

In making his barnstorming speech to the animals, Old Major is hoping to inspire them to rebellion against the hated human oppressor. He wants the animals to recognize their innate dignity, to understand that they're so much better than they think they are.

Through his in-depth theoretical analysis of the situation, Old Major has come to understand just how vital it is that the animals develop a revolutionary consciousness: that they see themselves as more than capable of taking hold of their own destiny and running the farm by themselves. He also knows that it is only through a vanguard of dedicated revolutionaries such as himself that the animals can be led towards a true understanding of what's in their best interests. His speech is explicitly designed for this very purpose.

A disorganized, spontaneous uprising will not succeed; the revolution must be carefully planned. But more to the point, the animals need to know just what they are and why they are rebelling before they rise up to throw off the shackles of human oppression. Hence the necessity of Old Major's speech.

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In Animal Farm, what is the main idea of Old Major's political speech?

Old Major's speech sets the scene for the occurrences in Animal Farm and, although it is centred around the animals own version of the Russian Revolution, it is just as much about the corruption and perversion of the ideal that later becomes symbolized by Animalism as it is about any specific persons from the Revolution.

it is Orwell’s way of suggesting that true equality never will exist.

Orwell, right from the onset, wanted to express his utter disappointment that even the Russians could not get it right and

his criticism stands against any and all totalitarian regimes.

Even at the beginning, it is apparent that "equality" is a very subjective issue and Old Major even discussed the relevance and position of "wild" creatures on the farm, relevant to the novel because it reveals - and foreshadows - the inevitable result.

The main idea therefore is that Old Major does attempt to reduce complex philosophies to something everyone can understand and is is adamant that animals cannot live together with humans - they must overthrow them.

"all the evils of this life of ours spring from the tyranny of human beings."

Old Major has a "dream," a vision 

of a society in which ...injustice is swept away and society exists in an ideal state.

His speech is a call to action.

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