In George Orwell’s, Animal Farm, the main source of power is said to be used in language and the use of rhetoric. Without language and the power of words, the rebellion would have never taken place and the end result of Napoleon’s complete takeover would have never happened. In the story, Animal Farm, the author demonstrates the power of language as a mean of control in Old Major’s speech, the commandments, and in Squealer’s explanations of Napoleon’s false testimonies. In Old Major’s speech, there is an ample amount of persuasive techniques being used in different ways.
Old Major uses much affecting language so the animals could have a more emotional than rational response to his speech. He uses powerful language to express to the animals that a rebellion is the best solution to their problem. In his speech he convinces the animals that Man is the answer to all of their problems by stating that, “Man is the only real enemy we have” (7). In the mind of Old Major their lives are “miserable, laborious, and short” (6) all because of the selfishness of Man. Because Man “consumes without producing” (7) and uses the animals hard work to Man’s own advantage Old Major brings up the idea of “rebellion” (9).
These words have a powerful affect on the animals being that later on they actually do rebel. The power of language as a mean of control is demonstrated in this speech because had Old Major not made the speech, the animals would have never rebelled. The power of language as a mean of control is demonstrated in the seven commandments due to the fact that they are a list of rules that the animals should abide by after their rebellion. The power of language in the commandments comes from the fact that they are “unalterable laws” (24) in which the animals on Animal Farm have to live by for ever after.
With the commandments, the pigs are “reducing the principles of animalism” (24) and such words control them to be together after the rebellion. These commandments tell the animals what they can or cannot do: “No animal shall drink alcohol” (25) which is seen as a mean of control through language. In Squealer’s explanation of Napoleon’s mistruths the power of language is also demonstrated because in order for the animals to believe him he has to be very persuasive and have influential word choice. When Squealer has to explain what happens to the milk and apples to the other animals, he claims that it is to “preserve [the pigs’] health” (35).
Squealer uses deception, controlling the animals to believe that the pigs require these privileges. This statement is power of language by means of control being that he controlled the animals to believe that the pigs were not taking advantage of them. The animals are easily swayed by Squealer’s false tales. Squealer put their minds to believe that life is much better on the farm by using fear: “But sometimes you might make the wrong decision… suppose you had decided to follow Snowball, with is moonshine of windmills. ” (55).
With all of Squealer’s explanations and false testimonies he was basically controlling them with the use of language and power of words. As the reader can see, the power of language is used throughout the story for in a generous number of reasons. Language and power is one of the most important themes in this story. It controls the animals’ behaviors and actions and has a lot to do with what happens next on the farm. As stated before, Orwell demonstrates the power of language as a mean of control in a speech, the commandments, and Squealer’s explanations to the other animals.