Animal Farm by George Orwell

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9 December 2021

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Question 3: “Power corrupts and absolute energy corrupts completely.”

To what extent does this saying apply to George Orwell’s Animal Farm? The quote “power corrupts and absolute energy corrupts absolutely” made by Lord Acton pertains to the novel Animal Farm considerably. This quote expresses the reality that power can be abused and some notorious circumstances in historical past has shown that this will end in a tragedy. Power is a means via which authority and control is developed. It could be attained through the form of respect or in some infamous instances, fear.

The idea that “absolute energy corrupts absolutely” relates most directly to the pigs who possess essentially the most power over the farm however neglect their duties to the farm and its habitants, leading to a dictatorship. One of the pigs who shows power over the animals was Old Major. Old Major was somebody who “was so extremely regarded on the farm that everybody was quite able to lose an hour’s sleep so as to hear what he had to say” (page 1).

He used their respect for him to steer them to strive for the creation of a greater life. Old Major had energy but wasn’t corrupted. His major goal was to create a utopian society during which equity is practised.

After the death of Old Major, the accountability of main the farm naturally fell on to the shoulders of Snowball and Napoleon. When commencing their management, Snowball and Napoleon have been focused on serving to to develop a greater life for all of the animals but because the novel progressed, Napoleon’s concept of management grew to become corrupted.

In distinction to Old Major, Napoleon took actions which had been for the only benefit of the pigs. He abused his power and neglected his duties as a pacesetter. Napoleon first attained power through respect however later maintained it through concern so much like the infamous Hitler. The animals weren’t permitted to oppose Napoleon as they feared him, “but abruptly the canines sitting round Napoleon set free deep, menacing growls, and the pigs fell silent and sat down again” (page 40) . Hitler, like Napoleon, gained power over Germany however later used these powers to enforce his own beliefs onto the individuals. It was evident to the reader that Napoleon was corrupted from when “the animals(including Snowball) trooped down to the hayfield to start the harvest, and when they got here back in the night it was seen that the milk had disappeared” (page 18). Snowball was sufferer to the corrupted Napoleon. One sole cause as to why Snowball was evicted from the farm was as a outcome of Napoleon’s starvation for absolute power.

Although this is not clearly pointed out by Orwell, it is evident for the reader. Napoleon, earlier than the eviction of Snowball, did have power and authority over the animal, however he didn’t have their undivided consideration. “The animals shaped themselves into two factions under the slogans, “Vote for Snowball and the three-day week’ and ‘Vole for Napoleon and the complete manger’”(page 37). Napoleon craved for more energy and as a end result of the quote states “absolute energy corrupts absolutely”, he became completely corrupted after he gained absolute energy by way of the eviction of Snowball. Napoleon grew to become more and more like Jones and the humans he as quickly as despised. The most important indication of the immense corruption in Animal Farm can be ascertained through the altering of the Seven Commandments. After the revolt, the responsibility of following these commandments were given to each animal on the farm. These commandments had been what distinguished the animals from people. They helped the animals recognise the vices of human beings and assisted them in remembering these corruptions in order that they themselves, would by no means adopt them.

Throughout the book, these commandments were constantly altered to the pigs’ preferences, such because the situation in which Snowball’s followers have been executed. As the pigs didn’t need the other animals to assume that the Commandments had been violated, the sixth Commandment “No animal shall kill some other animal” was changed to “ No animal shall kill another animal without cause”. “Somehow or other the last two phrases had slipped out of the animals’ reminiscence. But they noticed now that the Commandment had not been violated.” (Page 66). Additionally, the presence of a corrupted leader resulted in a corrupted government. The pigs placed themselves larger than different animals to whom the author sometimes called slaves. The pigs persuaded the animals through fear of Jones’ return, “it is on your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples. Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back!” (Page 25).

They lived in luxury while the opposite animals starved as “once again all rations have been lowered except those of the pigs and the dogs“(page 81). The Farm has not turn into the utopian society strived for because of the corrupted government. The pigs regarded themselves to be on a higher tier than the other animals, utterly violating the last and most essential Commandment “All animals are equal”. This corruption led to the failure of the insurrection. “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is one quote which summarises the events occurring in the novel “Animal Farm”. It expresses the negligence and abuse of power corresponding to that of the pigs. The corruption of the pigs, significantly their chief, Napoleon, expressed the reality behind this quote. The presence of corruption finally led to the failure of the insurrection.

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Animal Farm by George Orwell. (9 December 2021). Retrieved from

"Animal Farm by George Orwell" StudyScroll, 9 December 2021,

StudyScroll. (2021). Animal Farm by George Orwell [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 28 March, 2023]

"Animal Farm by George Orwell" StudyScroll, Dec 9, 2021. Accessed Mar 28, 2023.

"Animal Farm by George Orwell" StudyScroll, Dec 9, 2021.

"Animal Farm by George Orwell" StudyScroll, 9-Dec-2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 28-Mar-2023]

StudyScroll. (2021). Animal Farm by George Orwell. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 28-Mar-2023]

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