In George Orwells classic novel Animal Farm, the pigs who take over leadership following the eviction of the previous owner from the farm demonstrate the corrupting nature of absolute power. The pigs reveal to the animals that they had taught themselves to read and write from an old spelling book in Mr. Jones house. Snowball and Napoleon who are the dominant boars write a list of seven commandments that they have simplified from the principles of Animalism. The seven commandments are made to ensure the welfare of all animals on an equal basis. However, with the power they have harnessed, the pigs start to break the commandments subtly and eventually rewrite the rules to favor themselves. The pigs are corrupted by the power they have over the animals and use it to break the seven commandments for their benefit.
Almost immediately after the rules are written, the cows are milked and the milk is saved exclusively for the use of the pigs (Orwell 21). This action is in disparity to the seventh commandment that states all animals as equals. Subsequently, any produce from the animals should be used equally if not fairly. The pigs explain that milk is good for the brain work they do. However, to the reader, it is clear that this is exploitation. The pigs use their power to also harvest all the apples for their consumption with the earlier stated reason that apples are vital for their mental health and productivity. They soon rewrite the rule to read, All animals are equal but some are more equal than others to suit their selfish needs.
The pigs also contravene the commandment that puts all animals as equals by consuming a lot of produce from the farm together with the dogs they have trained to obey them despite producing nothing at all. This is evidenced by their consumption of the eggs, meat, apples and milk produced by other animals without sharing with other animals. In addition, they further promote inequality by breaking other commandments and editing them to favor their purposes. The pigs start walking on two feet despite the rule Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy and Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
The pigs are corrupted by power to an extent they are wary of any threats to their political ambition. Snowballs popularity is perceived as a threat to Napoleon and his cronies. They frame Snowball and exile him from the farm. The pigs that are found to be in contact with Snowball are killed in contravention to the rule that No animal shall kill any other animal. The rule is conveniently edited to read, No animal shall kill any other animal without a reason. The change in the rule justifies the actions of Napoleon. In their ascent and establishment of power, the pigs also begin to dress and act like humans. They invite people over for dinner, drink alcohol and sleep in beds. These actions contravene the rules that dictate No animal shall drink alcohol, No animal shall sleep in a bed and No animal shall wear clothes. The pigs use their power to bend the rules in their favor. Eventually, there is little difference between pig and man.
The pigs are corrupted by the power they have over the animals and use it to break several of the seven commandments for their benefit. They participate in promoting inequality by feeding off the work of others and using their power to give themselves privileges above other animals. They break the rules by befriending humans, drinking alcohol and dressing. They also murder other animals perceived as nonconformists. The pigs are evidence of the corrupting ability of power.
Orwell, George. Animal Farm. New York: Knopf, 1993. Print.
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