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Lily Dlhosh

Ms. Doar
Honors British Lit
4 March 2016
Negative Effects of Power in Animal Farm
Leaders will strive with virtues such as honesty and commitment, but will fail with
deceitfulness and too much control. George Orwell, an English writer, illustrates how too much
leadership can lead to corruption in his novel, Animal Farm. Napoleon starts out as an
uneducated pig who took Old Majors footsteps, but he soon turns into the absolute leader and
gets taken over by power and corruption. Napoleon, as one of the cleverest animals on the farm,
decides to help run the farm and achieve the dream Old Major had. Napoleon takes his place as
the next great leader and tries to make the farm thrive; however, his selfishness and careless
attitude tears the farm apart. Orwell takes Napoleons terrible leadership to demonstrate how too
much power can lead to corruption.
Napoleon uses his power to satisfy his own wants, disregarding the well-being of the
other animals. Orwell characterizes Napoleon as incredibly selfish and greedy, never doing
anything for anyone besides himself. When he realizes the farm has a storage of food,
Napoleon acted swiftly and ruthlessly. He ordered the hens' rations to be stopped, and decreed
that any animal giving so much as a grain of corn to a hen should be punished by death (Orwell
n. pag.). Napoleon didnt care about the hens starving or losing any another animals off the
farm, he only cared about having food for himself. Overview: Animal Farm states that
Napoleon becomes better and better at satisfying his own goals and needs and in duping the
other animals into believing that it profits them and the farm. Each new project that takes all their

energy keeps them from questioning whether their lives are truly improved (n. pag.). Napoleon
takes advantage of the animals that lack education and tricks them into believing all of his
avaricious actions benefit the welfare of the animals on the farm. Napoleon uses heartless tactics
that eventually makes the farm the same oppressed environment they revolted from.
Napoleon will do anything to grow into the absolute leader of the farm and will not let
anyone stand in his way. Napoleon, prevailing as a ruthless pig, enforces fear on the other
animals to get what he wants on Animal Manor. The dogs Napoleon trained dashed straight for
Snowball, who only sprang from his place just in time to escape their snapping jaws. In a
moment he was out of the door and they were after him (Orwell n. pag.). After the animals see
what Napoleon did, they become more afraid of him and they realize they should not contradict
anything he says. Critic, William S. Brockington, Jr. analyses Napoleon: He is cynical, brutal,
and above all pragmatic. Once in power, he will do whatever is necessary to keep his position...
Ultimately, the animals have even less than before (n. pag.). Napoleon takes on the same
characteristics as a dictator and ruins the dream for all of the other animals who worked so hard
to get that far. Napoleon only cares about his own well-being and the power he gets out of the
rebellion rather than the welfare of the others.
Napoleon makes evident that absolute power will ruin the unity and trust within the
environment. Critic, Katharine Byrne says Lies and terror now rule Animal Farm. In the
ultimate reversal of Old Major's words, all animals are created equal, but some animals are more
equal than others. One form of repression has been replaced by another (n. pag.). Napoleons
covetous actions showed that he did everything to make sure the power belonged to him only.
Napoleon got caught up in the idea of autocratic power that he let the farm revert back to what
the animals worked so hard to purge, Manor Farm.

Works Cited
Brockington, Jr., William S. Animal Farm. Masterplots II: Juvenile & Young Adult Fiction

Series (1991): 1-2. Literary Reference Center. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.


Byrne, Katharine. "Not all books are created equal: Orwell & his animals at fifty." Commonweal
123.10 (1996): 14+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.
George Orwell. Animal Farm.-. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.
"Overview: Animal Farm." Characters in Young Adult Literature. John T Gillespie and Corinne
J. Naden. Detroit: Gale, 1997. Literature Resource Center. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.

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