Literary Essay: "Animal Farm" by George Orwell, The Ultimate Corruption of Napoleon

Essay by NatvinJunior High, 9th gradeA+, January 2007

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"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely."

-Lord Acton

Throughout time there have been many rulers. Many of these rulers' desire for power overtook their ability to govern wisely and compassionately. Numerous rulers began with ethical beliefs and true concern for their people but as their own personal need to control others grew so did their level of destructive behavior. Once they became a figure of authority and refused to heed any advisor's warning of caution, they were drawn into a deteriorating position from which they could no longer escape, slowly acquiring a quality of total self-absorption, attached with a merciless sense of cruelty towards others. Everyone must realize and always keep in mind that a sincere leader is one who works for his people rather than above his people. In the novel, Animal Farm, the absolute ruler of the animals, Napoleon, portrays precisely this image of power and its tendency to corrupt its possessor.

It illustrates his gradual rise to power and the ensuing attitude of supreme superiority towards the other animals.

Napoleon first begins ruling alongside Snowball, another pig on the farm. The two constantly disagree with each other and Napoleon does not take little interest in Snowball's committees. Snowball comes up with the brilliant idea to build a windmill but building it would entail much hard work and great challenges and Napoleon contends that the animals should attend to their current needs rather than plan for a distant future. Of course Napoleon knows the windmill will be extremely productive for the animals but cannot allow himself to acknowledge Snowball's valuable input.

Throughout his initial steps of authority, Napoleon never shows interest in the strength of Animal Farm itself, only in the strength of his power over it. Thus, the only project he...