“Four legs good, two legs bad.” – Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1954. Print.
Power is a virus. One that can hurt, heal, and destroy everything in its path. To rise to power from nothing but ashes could be hard or simple. But once you obtain it, there is no escaping the wrath of power, the undying want for it. This is where those with power must realize that it is not something to be taken for granted. If we do, the outcome is the same – corruption. There are those who thirst for power, and live off it until it devours them from the inside. Selfishness, manipulativeness, and unforgiveness all are symptoms of this deadly virus. Napoleon has showed all of these symptoms in many different ways.
He exiled Snowball to get rid of all competition that threatened his rank at the farm. Once Snowball was gone, Napoleon immediately stepping into the leader position and ordering everyone around.
- “Then he put on an extra spurt and, with a few inches to spare, slipped through a hole in the hedge and was seen no more.” (Orwell, page 68)
After that, Napoleon accused Snowball of being a traitor and spy, working with Mr. Jones all along. And surprisingly many of the animals are fooled.
Napoleon kept all the windblown apples and milk to himself, claiming that since he is the smartest, he needs the most food to “succeed in his duties” and make sure that Mr. Jones doesn’t come back. This shows the first stepping stones of his selfishness.
- “So it was agreed without further argument that the milk and the windfall apples (and also the main crop of apples when they ripened) should be reserved for the pigs alone.” (Orwell, page 53)
Napoleon also started wearing clothes, sleeping in a bed, standing on two feet, and trading with humans in the outside world. He also starts to live in the same place that Mr. Jones used to live, starting to do everything that Mr. Jones used to do. After a while, Napoleon uses the nine young dogs to control and kill those who decide to oppose him or that have “had contact” with Snowball. Even if the reason was not believable.
- “The three hens who had been the ringleaders in the attempted rebellion over the eggs had stated that Snowball had appeared to them in a dream and incited them to disobey Napoleon’s orders. They too, were slaughtered.” (Orwell, page 93)
Eventually, the pigs become more and more similar to the humans they had once overthrown. The commandments of Animalism slowly change, becoming more and more suited to the pig’s actions, such as drinking alcohol and killing the other animals. It changes so much that in the end, the only commandment left on the wall is,
- “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” (Orwell, page 133)
This proves that he has total control over the farm. The last paragraph also makes the corruption from power clear,
- “Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” (Orwell, page 139)
I guess that the question we’re left with is: Why would one want all this power? The answer seems obvious at first, but when we think about it, absolute power does not give its bearer true happiness, love, or life-long fulfillment. Instead, it will only bring misery, distrust in others, and a constant paranoia of losing power. Is having power really worth all that pain?
Brain frame for this post: