Essay On Corruption In Animal Farm



Corruption is defined as the enemy of development, and good governance (Patil). Throughout the novel, Animal Farm, by George Orwell, a vision of  an equal society foresaw by Old Major, an old boar, ends up turning into a corrupt regime led by a pig named Napoleon. The novel follows a group of farm animals who rebel against the human farmers with the hopes of establishing a society in which all animals are equal. However, over time, the goal of the rebellion is ignored, and the farm ends up going back to its previous state, under the dictatorship of  Napoleon and his spokesperson, Squealer. Napoleon is a corrupt dictator, and when he gains control of the farm, he uses his power to exploit the animals, change the rules for his benefit, and uses propaganda to prevent the other animals from questioning his authority. 

To begin, Napoleon maintains his power on the farm by instilling fear in the animals by threatening them with his vicious dogs and through the use of propaganda. Animals who disagree with Napoleon's political decisions are intimidated and punished by his dogs. For example,  the animals gather for a meeting in the barnhouse, many start  voluntarily confessing to crimes out of paranoia and fear of the dogs:

Napoleon stood sternly surveying his audience; then he uttered a high-pitched whimper. Immediately the dogs bounded forward, seized four of the pigs by the ear and dragged them, squealing with pain and terror, to Napoleon's feet. The pigs' ears were bleeding, the dogs had tasted blood, and for a few moments, they appeared to go quite mad. ( Orwell, 43). Although the pigs confessed to crimes they did not commit, Napoleon chose to kill them as he knew that they were the most intelligent animals on the farm. Keeping them alive would have meant a potential rebellion as they would have understood quickly his own intentions.

Napoleon brutally forces the animals to confess to crimes, using the dogs to intimidate the pigs before ordering public executions. This leads to the creation of a fearful atmosphere throughout the farm. Napoleon justifies the violence by claiming that it is all for the greater good because traitors deserve to die. Furthermore, Squealer, Napoleon’s spokesperson, is a perfect example of a propagandist. He uses his cleverness to manipulate the animals into believing his lies. Boxer, a workhorse and an influential character in the novel, is often heard muttering powerful slogans to motivate himself and his comrades, and Squealer's slogans and messaging seep into his heart. Boxer's justification for his compliance and loyalty is that  

If comrade Napoleon said it, it must be true!:( Orwell, 56) 

The animals are inspired and influenced by Boxer and his blind loyalty and work ethic, which encourages and misleads his fellow "comrades." In essence, he becomes Squealer's tool. Because Squealer can't be everywhere at once, he takes advantage of Boxer's loyalty and ignorance to spread Napoleon's message to the animals. 

Napoleon sets seven commandments by which all animals must live by. As his power progresses he begins to change the rules of the farm to better serve his personal purpose, as his regime becomes more corrupt. When the pigs move into the farmhouse, rumours begin to go around suggesting that a rule or commandment was broken. The other animals are startled and mention that one of the Seven Commandments, No animal shall sleep in a bed (Orwell 15) is changed to No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets ( Orwell, 27).

The readers know that the pigs have changed the commandment to fit their wants and to get more privileges, and as a result, the other animals continue to sleep on hay. Squealer, however, explains that while animals are allowed to sleep in beds, they are not permitted to use sheets, which are a human invention. Squealer continues by explaining that pigs require rest to perform all of the "brain work" required to run Animal Farm. Besides, Napoleon instills fear upon the animals by threatening to execute them if they were to question him. 

A few days later, when the terror caused by the executions had died down, some of the animals remembered, or thought they remembered, that the Sixth Commandment decreed 

No animal must ever kill any other animal ( Orwell, 48). 

The animals blame it on their memory, and believe that they might have just forgotten that it was originally written as No animal shall kill any other animal without cause. Consequently, the more commandments and rules Napoleon changes, the more corrupt society on the farm becomes. Part of Napoleon's plan, to keep the other animals illiterate, is proving to be extremely useful for him to be able to manipulate any or all of the original rules for his benefit.

The full scope of Napoleon’s brutal abuse towards the other animals is seen in his treatment of Boxer. Napoleon’s absolute use of Boxer's loyalty, hard work and devotion to the end of his life is seen when Boxer can no longer work and is sent to the slaughterhouse to squeeze out profit from his death. In his ignorance, Boxer would have never questioned Napoleon as his motto to his last moments where Napoleon is always right. (Orwell, 33). 

Dogs are also trained and forced to work directly with Napoleon and are exploited for their ferociousness and the fear they instil in the other animals. Whereas Napoleon takes advantage of Boxer's physical strength, he takes advantage of the dogs' viciousness and turns them into killers and murderers out for blood. Readers are first introduced to the dogs when Napoleon walks into a Sunday meeting and all of a sudden there was a terrible baying sound outside, and nine enormous dogs, wearing brass-studded collars came bounding into the barn. ( Orwell, 53). 

This suggests that the dogs were also exploited and are later used to scare and vilify the other animals who take issue with Napoleon's political decisions. In short, Napoleon and his pigs corrupt their power by exploiting the faithfulness of Boxer as well as the ruthlessness of the dogs to manipulate the rules in their favor.  

In conclusion, the very oppression the animals were trying to fight, once again became their reality when 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 95). As with many rebellions, the original intention was one where true change was promised to benefit the oppressed, but with power comes responsibility, and not everyone has good intentions.