Lord Acton’s famous quote, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” perfectly captures the theme of power abuse in the novel Animal Farm. Throughout the story, this corruption of power affects not only the animals but also shapes events and ultimately determines the outcome.
The primary characters influenced by this corrupting force are Napoleon and Squealer, as well as the entire farm as a whole. As the de facto leader of Animal Farm, Napoleon holds an immense amount of power bestowed upon him due to his leadership position. However, rather than utilizing this power for the betterment of both the farm and its inhabitants, Napoleon selfishly exploits it for personal gain and that of his fellow pigs.
The animals on the farm are subjected to heavy labor and reduced food rations, while their leader, Napoleon, enjoys increased privileges with minimal physical work. Furthermore, Napoleon abuses his military force, the dogs, by commanding them to kill other animals. Among Napoleon’s comrades, Squealer holds a significant amount of power due to their shared ideas and interests. Squealer possesses a remarkable talent for persuasive speech, which enables him to manipulate and convince both the less intelligent and even some of the smarter animals that the pigs’ actions are justified.
He is a pig who disseminates Napoleon’s propaganda to the other animals. He distorts language in order to uphold governmental control. The entire farm is profoundly impacted by the misuse of power depicted in the novel. The animals are eventually compelled to toil even more strenuously than during Jones’ era while enduring decreased rations. Esteemed animals like Boxer, symbolizing the proletariat, are unjustly treated despite being the most diligent workers. Boxer’s unwavering faith in Napoleon’s authority and intellect denies him the fairness he deserves in his labor. Presently, numerous governments exploit their power.
Even in America, propaganda and the manipulation of language are utilized to exploit power, akin to the character Squealer. Like Napoleon, many governments exploit their military forces, while numerous individuals, like the working class in America, become victims of abuse. The pigs in Animal Farm symbolize both the government and the upper class, displaying their relentless desire to retain high levels of power. The abuse of power depicted in Animal Farm resonates deeply within our present-day society. The abuses perpetrated by Napoleon, Squealer, and the pigs bear striking similarities to the experiences of people in current times. Furthermore, the various animal characters in the story parallel the struggles faced by individuals in contemporary society.