Morals in Animal Farm If people will always be tempted to choose the most beneficial option for them, can they really be inherently good? Many characters in Animal Farm, such as Napoleon and his dogs, make immoral decisions such as this constantly. Animal Farm is a book about farm animals revolting and creating their own government. It has an extensive amount of parallels to Soviet Russia. In Animal Farm, George Orwell uses characterization, alland symbolism to show that humans are morally wrong. Characterization is one of the most prevalent literary devices used in Animal Farm.
In Animal Farm, Napoleon was selfish and did not think of the feelings of the other animals often. Orwell wrote, “He (Napoleon) had flogged an old horse to death, he starved his cows, he had killed a dog by throwing it into the furnace, he amused himself in the evenings by making cocks fight with splinters of razor-blade tied to their spurs. ” (Orwell 58). He was very sadistic and not often cared about the lives of other animals, which is often considered morally wrong. Napoleon also treated the other animals horribly so often that it became normal. As explained by Fowler, . e other animals are in their customary state of oppressed deprivation” (Fowler 1). Only one with bad principles would manipulate others like this. Napoleon’s disregardance of the well-being or even lives of other animals is an example of how humans are morally wrong. In addition, Orwell shows the corrupt morals of humans when he writes about the animals being taken advantage of because they were less educated. Near the beginning of the book, the animals were more gullible and often believed most of what Napoleon said. Squealer announced to the other animals, “Comrades! he cried.
You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for YOUR sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples” (Orwell 25).
This marks the beginning of the pigs’ selfishness, brutality, and immorality. As the book went on, Napoleon became more vicious to the other animals, still believing that all others were inferior. Orwell writes, “And so the tale of confessions and executions went on, until there was a pile of corpses lying before Napoleon’s feet and the air was heavy with the smell of blood, which had been unknown there since the expulsion of Jones” (Orwell 75). This shows how he thought that he was superior to all others. Napoleon clearly only thought for himself, which is not very ethical.
Once again, Orwell uses characterization to show the bad morals of people. Napoleon often blatantly lied to the other animals and put up a facade of everything on the farm being perfectly fine, when it was in shambles. Orwell writes, “Napoleon was well aware of the bad results that might follow if the real facts of the food situation were known, and he decided to make use of Mr. Whymper to spread a contrary impression” (Orwell 67). He would often lie to the animals, disregarding how it would affect them, which is fairly immoral. Napoleon also used the animals’ inferior knowledge to deceive them.
Fowler explains that, “The animals would not know that the farm was ‘old-fashioned’ and its machinery ‘primitive’, because they have no comparison: here then is a very slight hint of a viewpoint different from and more knowledgeable than theirs” (Fowler 24). This can be seen as immoral, because Napoleon is taking advantage of the animals being less aware. Napoleon often deceived the animals on the farm when it was in his best interest which is arguably not something someone with proper principles would do. Furthermore, the dogs, who symbolize the KGB were brainwashed followers of Napoleon.
They were horribly brutal, murdering others at the drop of a pin. The animals on the farm had to endure such atrocities such as, “When they (the hens) had finished their confession, the dogs promptly tore their throats out” (Orwell 75). They often killed other animals without thinking twice. They would even attack those who were loyal to Napoleon. Orwell says, “To the amazement of everybody, three of them (the dogs) flung themselves upon Boxer. Boxer saw them coming and put out his great hoof, caught a dog in mid-air, and pinned him to the ground. ” (Orwell 66).
Also, their violence brought about violence from other animals which is just further spreading unethical ideas. The brutal and thoughtless actions of the dogs in Animal Farm show the corrupt morals of humans. Moreover, the song, Beasts of England, is an example of how Orwell uses symbolism to prove the point that humans are morally wrong. It symbolizes the song L’Internationale which was written from the point of view of a poor person and is about the struggles of revolution.
Some of the lines of L’Internationale show that if things go wrong, people will turn against their allies n time of crisis. And if those cannibals keep trying To sacrifice us to their pride They soon shall hear the bullets flying We’ll shoot the generals on our own side” (Pottier 2) People with good morals tend to be loyal. unlike those described in this song. L’Internationale also shows how corrupt the wealth distribution was the time it was written. Pottier writes, “The law oppresses us and tricks us, The wage slave system drains our blood; The rich are free from obligation, The laws the poor delude” (Pottier 1) It makes no sense that something that can be changed by the ealthy, such as the wage gap, should still exist.
The song L’Internationale further proves that humans have tendencies to be selfish and disloyal. Also, the windmill in Animal Farm is another symbol that is very important. It essentially represents the decision of whether or not to expand communism. It brought out the true colors of some of the animals. According to Soule, “the reader soon begins to puzzle over the fact that Napoleon disapproves the project of building a windmill” (Soule 7). Soon, the reader realizes that Napoleon has a separate motive to disagreeing with the construction of the windmill.
The animals began disagreeing on whether or not to begin construction as explained by Orwell, “At last the day came when Snowball’s plans were completed. At the Meeting on the following Sunday the question of whether or not to begin work on the windmill was to be put to the vote. When the animals had assembled in the big barn, Snowball stood up and, though occasionally interrupted by bleating from the sheep, set forth his reasons for advocating the building of the windmill. Then Napoleon stood up to reply.
He said very quietly that the windmill was nonsense and that he advised nobody to vote for t, and promptly sat down again; he had spoken for barely thirty seconds, and seemed almost indifferent as to the effect he produced. At this Snowball sprang to his feet, and shouting down the sheep, who had begun bleating again, broke into a passionate appeal in favor of the windmill” (Orwell 35). Napoleon clearly resented Snowball because he was favored, which soon led Napoleon to making the immoral decision of forcing Snowball off the farm. Many decisions regarding the windmill exposed the corrupt morals of the leaders to the animals of the farm.
Finally, Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin in Animal Farm. Stalin was known for being a brutal and ruthless leader. As said by Radzinsky, “Joseph Stalin still casts a long shadow over Russian history” (Radzinsky 6). Throughout his reign, many people often questioned his morals. Stalin was also an especially ferocious military leader. loffe explains, “Gobbling up much of Eastern Europe after World War II, he also triggered a Cold War” (loffe 5). A person with proper principles would not have been so ferocious. Stalin is a great example of how people tend to be self-centered and strident. George Orwell’s Animal
Farm uses characterization, symbolism, and allegory to prove that humans are morally wrong. The morals of people are shown very clearly in the book, especially in the character of Napoleon, who constantly made decisions to benefit himself not letting anyone else get in his way. Since it is so easy to be selfish and to disregard the feelings of others, people should make an active effort to do the most they good they can for the world; to try to be empathetic and kind to others. If the world continues to be completely filled with people that only think for themselves, who knows what the future will entail?