Loyalty is the willingness to make an investment or personal sacrifice to strengthen a cause. Loyal subjects are vulnerable to exploitation because of their trust in their leader’s agenda. In George Orwell’s political satire, Animal Farm, a pig named Napoleon leads the animals of Manor Farm in a rebellion against the tyrannical farmer Mr.
Jones. They succeed in driving away all the humans, turning the farm into an animal utopia, and establishing their own system of government, Animalism, in which all living things are equal.As the leader of the rebellion freed the animals from the injustices sustained from Mr. Jones, Napoleon is trusted by the animals of Manor Farm. Over time, Napoleon abuses his position by taking the choice food for himself and the other pigs.
Although Napoleon employs many different strategies to maintain his power, securing the loyalty of the animals proves the most effective tactic because it silences them from questioning his authority, allows him to manipulate and exploit them, and helps him eliminate any rivals that might threaten his absolute rule. Due to the animals’ loyalty towards Napoleon, they fail to see how unfairly they are treated and allow Napoleon to take advantage of his position in power.The animals conform to Napoleon’s views because they trust him as the leader of the rebellion that freed them from the humans. Thus, when Squealer explains that apples and milk will be distributed only to the pigs and not to the other animals, they do not complain or disagree. Napoleon claims that the pigs are the leaders, and they need apples and milk to stay healthy: “When it was put to them in this light, they had no more to say” (52).
The animals do not question Napoleon because they believe that serving Napoleon’s best interests will help them as well.Their loyalty towards Napoleon allows them to believe his propaganda. After Napoleon exiles his rival Snowball, Napoleon tells the animals that Snowball has been a traitor before the humans attack to retake their farm. The execution solidifies Napoleon’s power because there are no longer any major opposing threats that might interfere with his rule.
At first, Boxer challenges Napoleon, but then Napoleon persuades him: “’I do not believe Snowball was a traitor at the beginning… ‘Ah that is different! ’ said Boxer. ‘If comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right’” (91).Even Boxer changes his position voluntarily after little debate because he trusts Napoleon. After Napoleon executes innocent animals, Boxer is convinced that the executions are deserved because of his blind trust in Napoleon: “I do not understand it. I would not have believed such things could happen on our farm.
It must be due to some fault in ourselves” (94). Boxer confirms what Napoleon says, even though Napoleon broke a commandment of not killing another animal. Because the animals are loyal to Napoleon, they do not question his power or any of his claims.Since the animals do not question Napoleon, they inadvertently give him the power to manipulate and exploit them. Before the rebellion, the pigs determined that everyone would get the same amount of food; however, the pigs and dogs end up taking in more food for themselves. The animals fail to realize that Napoleon is taking advantage of them.
For example, the reduction in rations takes place slowly: “The animals saw no reason to disbelieve him, especially as they could no longer remember very clearly what conditions had been like before the Rebellion.All the same, there were days when they felt that they would sooner have had less figures and more food” (99). The animals can no longer remember life under Mr. Jones; therefore, they are unable to see the similarities between Napoleon and Mr. Jones.
Napoleon has recreated the same conditions on the farm that led the outraged animals to stage the rebellion, but they fail to remember the freedom they fought for. Under Napoleon, they are willing to complete more difficult tasks because they believe they are working to benefit a common goal: “All that year the animals worked like slaves.But they were happy in their work; they grudged no effort or sacrifice, well aware that everything that they did was for the benefit of themselves and those of their kind who would come after them, and not for a pack of idle, thieving human beings” (73). Ironically, the animals are working like slaves even though they believe they control the farm. The animals’ perception of reality is skewed because of their extreme loyalty towards Napoleon, who exploits them for his own benefit.
They fail to realize that their work is mostly for Napoleon’s benefit.As a result, Napoleon gains more power and rewrites the rules of the farm, revising history in his favor. Napoleon takes advantage of the animals’ loyalty by eliminating any rivals that threaten his power. When Animal Farm is about to hold an election, Napoleon ensures that he will be the ruler and exiles his primary rival Snowball by falsely accusing him of destroying a windmill.
“Comrades,” he said quietly, “do you know who is responsible for this? Do you know the enemy who has come in the night and overthrown our windmill? Snowball?” he suddenly roared in a voice of thunder.“Snowball has done this thing! In sheer malignity, thinking to set back our plans and avenge himself for his ignominious expulsion, this traitor has crept here under cover of night and destroyed our work of nearly a year. Comrades, here and now I pronounce the death sentence upon Snowball. A full bushel to anyone who captures him alive! ” (82) Because of their trust in Napoleon, the animals believe that Snowball is guilty and they exile him from the farm. By blaming Snowball for a crime that he did not commit, Napoleon portrays his rival as an enemy of the farm and himself as a trustworthy leader.
Napoleon exiles Snowball prior to accusing him of destroying the windmill. Thus, Snowball cannot defend himself against Napoleon’s false accusations. Just as Snowball posed a threat to Napoleon’s absolute rule, the younger pigs may pose a threat later. Instead of waiting for the young pigs to grow older and conspire against him, Napoleon declares them as followers of Snowball and enemies of Animal Farm: “Immediately the dogs bounded forward, seized four of the pigs by the ear and dragged them, squealing with pain and terror, to Napoleons feet… When they had finished their confession, the dogs promptly tore their throats out” (92-93).As the farm watches the terror, the animals learn not to question Napoleon’s power since they recognize that there will be fatal consequences for any signs of disloyalty.
The pigs and the dogs pose the biggest threats to Napoleon due to their intelligence. Thus, Napoleon raises them from birth, isolating them so that he can indoctrinate them as his own followers and protectors: “As soon as they were weaned, Napoleon took them away from their mothers, saying that he would make himself responsible for their education” (51).The mothers of the puppies and piglets allow Napoleon to take them because they trust he will use their offspring for a good purpose. Due to the animals’ trust in Napoleon, Napoleon is able to secure absolute rule by controlling and eliminating any threats in the way of his power.
Napoleon succeeds in being an effective leader because the animals give him an extreme amount of loyalty. This allows Napoleon to unite the other animals under his command and manage every aspect of the farm. Yet, the animals are blinded by their loyalty to Napoleon and are unable to acknowledge how he manipulates their devotion for his own benefit.The animals believe they are living in a utopia under Napoleon’s rule, their unquestioning loyalty towards him; however, is no different than the loyalty they submitted to Mr. Jones, which led to their exploitation.
Napoleon could use the animals’ loyalty to strengthen and improve life on the farm; instead, he leads in a manipulative manner to silence the animals from questioning his government and prevent any other animals from getting in the way of his power. Orwell clearly illustrates that Napoleon is able to accomplish his goals by obtaining the loyalty of his subjects.