The allegorical fable, Animal Farm, aggressively satirises communist rule under Joseph Stalin. Using a range of (satirical and literary devices, features and forms) it completely annihilates the viability of communism through scathingly exposing its follies. Progression of the novel Animal Farm sees audiences engage in critical self-judgement of the inevitable conversion of communist government into totalitarian regimes and the necessity of duplicity & propaganda required to run a communist schematic. Orwell voices firmly of his hatred for communist leaders through characterising Napoleon and the pigs as cunning, cruel manipulative leaders. Being an allusion to Soviet leaders at the time, they aid in demonstrating the dangers of communist nations eventuating into totalitarian regimes.
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The story initiates with Old Major’s speech incorporating climax and excessive repetition to hone in the strength and integrity of ‘Animalism’, defining it to be a theoretically flawless ideology. This parody of Karl Max’s communist manifesto, stresses specific, emotive and repetitive language: ‘All men are evil, All animals are equal’ , ‘Animals must never become like men’ and ‘Comrades’ to stratify between the animal and Mr Jones, the allusion to Tsar Nicholas and his autocratic rule. This allows for communism to be later ridiculed throughout the novel as readers witness Napoleon ironically assuming this despotic role of their original oppressor. The delegation of unbalanced workloads is justified by the pigs declaring their intellectual superiority as they state to the other animals; ‘We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organization of this farm depends on us’. Placing themselves at the height of their manufactured hierarchy after pretending to espouse equality and freedom, just like Tsar Nicholas, allow readers to view the dramatic irony present. Readers infer that the pigs are actually manipulating and lying to the other animals for their own benefit, which alludes to the actions of Stalin in Soviet Russia.
This model of characterisation and development for the animals, especially Napoleon, develops the story to arrive at the same futile circumstances as the opening of the novel; ‘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’. Through this overarching reversal, implication of this never ending cycle of centralised power, indicates to readers that communist rule instils a corruptible central government body that gradually allows for the formation of a totalitarian regime, hence rendering it to be flawed in practice.
Orwell also argues communism to be flawed due to government dependence on propaganda & duplicity. Such is demonstrated through the development of events involving Squealer, the allusion to the Soviet propaganda machine, and Napoleon. Napoleon is never documented as working for the animals but when he is seen he is fronting pompously in human clothing despite agreeing to the notion that animals must never act like ‘man’. This reference to his tyrannical development like ‘man’ is accompanied by his execution-ready dogs, an allusion to the murderous secret police, and a cockerel acting as his own private marching band. These theatrical properties generate an image of superiority and dismiss the notion of challenge. However, these props act as burlesque. They ridicule Stalin and lead readers into making critical self-judgments on Soviet leaders as the audience infers that Soviet government reputation stems from deceptive fronting, instead of actual action taken to benefit the Soviet people.
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Napoleon’s image is not the only deception within the book. Throughout the novel readers witness the immeasurable number of lies, false reports and the threats about the return of Snowball and Mr Jones, stated by Squealer to maintain control over the animals and ensure they work in worsening conditions. The general animal population is also encouraged to absorb the apocryphal notion that Napoleon is their saviour, despite little evidence standing for Napoleon commencing heroic deeds, as indicated by the conversational norms set in Animal Farm; ‘Under the guidance of our Leader, Comrade Napoleon, I have laid five eggs’. This dramatic Irony in this statement displays the ease at which these animals have been brain washed. These events show readers the animals are deceived with propaganda into working for the pigs and alludes to similar occurrences in Soviet Russia. Such a duplicitous collection of events throughout the novel, involving these characters, acts as a microcosm against historical Russia to show that the country was run on lies that led to the injustice and suffering of the Soviet people.
Orwell has essentially created a powerful satirical text which concerns itself with the thematic concepts, socio-political context and audiences both past and present involved in the understanding of communism. Through exhibition of the inevitability of totalitarian regimes from communist uproots and duplicity as the key aspect to run society under communist rule alongside use of satirical devices, his arguments indicate communism to be a flawed system of government.