George Orwell’s allegorical novel ‘Animal Farm’ demonstrates the rapid shitt trom hopeful utopian Dream, to reproachful dystopian nightmare as a result of fundamental flaws in human nature, such as avarice, selfishness and the thirst for power over others. In the novel, the animals are promised a better life if they revolt and institute the system of Animalism, then they are promised a better life if they build the windmill and, if all lse fails, the raven promises a better afterlife on Sugarcandy Mountain’.
However, the animals ultimately never achieve their utopld because of the avaricious and power-hungry nature of Napoleon and his pig cronies, whether It Is the ambitious and power hungry Napoleon and his cronies, the animals’ blind loyalty and Ignorance to Napoleon’s ulterior motives or the resigned apathy and passivity ot some ot the animals, it is clear that not one, but all are responsible for sending the once hopeful utopian society spiralling into the chaos of a dishevelled, dystopian regime.
Throughout the novel, the Animal Farm’s Utopian Dream is corrupted repeatedly by the ambitious and selfish agenda of the power- hungry Napoleon and his pig cronies. Since the very beginning of his reign as “Commander Napoleon” (pg. 55), the leader of the pigs uses many of the advantages he possesses ds an educated member of society to control and mould the working class’ animals that populate the farm. This can be seen by the way Napoleon shamelessly uses his own and his right hand pig Squealer’s intellect and way with words to persuade and utterly bamboozle his ubjects into reform and forces them to work harder under false pretences.
Even when his actions are in direct violation of the seven commandments, such as the brutal execution of the chickens after they refuse to give up their eggs to the pigs (pg. 62), Napoleon’s connections and overall imposing personality allow him to be easily feared, even without the ferocious possie of militia dogs. The continuous change in The Commandments Is pivotal In Napoleon’s reign, as he not only has control over what the other amrnals know but also In the occasion that he violates a ommandment, a common aspect of human nature, he can change It and use propaganda to back up the ‘improved’ commandment.
Napoleon uses propaganda, terror and disempowerment of animals in various forms to generate a dystopian society with himself in command. Blind loyalty and ignorance of Napoleon’s ulterior motives becomes the eventual downfall of Animal Farm’s utopian dream. This is made all the more easy by the way in which the animals are peer-pressured into actions that they may not have willingly chosen. The use of the sheep’s perpetual chanting of “Four legs good. o legs bad”, worked so well earlier In the campaign that Napoleon then uses It to his advantage with a revised rendition “Four legs good, two legs better”.
This rendition of an original peer pressure technique sparks a startling realisation to the animals as they see the pigs, the supposed leaders ot the rebellion, walking on two legs and interacting with humans as though they were friends. But as we have seen many times throughout the history, the desire to fit in only controls a population toa point. That is when Napoleon reveals his master Using the intimidation of his guard dogs, bred to a certain goal from birth, revitalises his campaign for leadership and ensures certain dominance over the animals of Animal Farm.
As the novel draws to a conclusion, the actions of Napoleon and his band of miscreants become more and more direct and ferocious in manner as Napoleon’s ulterior motives come to the fore, dictating his actions towards a dystopian minded outcome. The resigned apathy and passivity of some of the animals allows for faster erosion of the dream of equality and allows for the pigs to maintain the power that asn’t rightfully theirs. A typical example of general passivity towards the pigs actions was Benjamin, the old donkey.
Having knowledge of the pig’s hypocrisy, Benjamin consciously decided against actions of rebellion against the pigs, instead resigning himself to the fact that he could not help the situation. After Boxer’s death, Clover is so emotionally destroyed by his sudden disappearance that she ceases to do anything. In accepting his death as the pigs tell her, she is being passive and not searching for her own conclusions, even though she had doubts about it.
It these, lus many more examples of passivity towards the pigs reign, that concludes in the animals having to forfeit any hope of the once so real, Utopian Dream. Animal Farm is the story of the animals that rebel against their master in order to achieve their dream of a utopian society. The book opens in an optimistic mood as Old Major in his speech describes a simple, natural farm in which all the animals are free and equal. But gradually this energetic and positive mood disappears, as the animals’ difficulties become progressively worse, and as their leader becomes more and more cruel and elfish.
In the end the Farm is the opposite of Major’s optimistic dream; the majority of the animals are neither free nor equal and they live in misery. Although the characters of the novel are animals, the book is written as a fable, and the characters resemble human beings. The key themes discussed in the essay; ambition and greed, unquestioning loyalty and ignorance, and apathy and passivity are all characteristics found in human nature, and account for the fact that, the Utopian dream, while noble, is short sighted because it fails to account for the flaws in human nature.