George Orwell’s Animal Farm is written about the distortion of the ideals of freedom and equality in totalitarian societies. Animals were fascinated by the prophecy of their Major and dreamt about freedom, but ended up being completely obedient to the new masters, the pigs. Every of them contributed to this degradation – pigs did that in an active way, and others helped them by being passive, ignorant and compliant. However, there are two most prominent figures, Napoleon and Boxer. Their contribution to the loss of freedom was the most significant.
Napoleon, “a large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar” (Orwell 35), became the only leader of the farm due to his guile, strength of mind, and, finally, brute force. Inequalities began right after the rebellion, when pigs appropriated the milk: “That will be attended to!”, said Napoleon (44). He was not as eloquent as Snowball was, but he was more cunning and far-sighted, which can be proved by the fact that he had appropriated the puppies (51), who later became his guard. It can be said that he thoughtfully planned the overturn in his own interest: he didn’t waste time arguing with Snowball; he taught the sheep to bleat “Four legs good, two legs bad” whenever it was convenient for Napoleon (50, 51, 63, 69, 77, 96, 118, 132); he made use of animal’s fear of Mr. Jones return saying whenever there was any discontent with his deeds that Jones would come back if the animals don’t obey him (52, 70, 80); finally, he trained the personal guard for himself. Expulsion of Snowball, a kind of military coup d’état, was Napoleon’s triumph. After that Napoleon could do whatever he wanted. He appropriates Snowfall’s project of mill, moves into the house, changes the seven commandments as he wants, uses all possible privileges, eats more than the others, sleeps on silk sheets, eats from porcelain, drinks beer and whiskey, and shifts the blame for all possible misfortunes on Snowball. He uses deceit without a twinge of conscience, and finally colludes with people, who enthusiastically agree that “the lower animals on Animal Farm did more work and received less food than any animals in the county” (136).
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Boxer is not at all that cunning. On the opposite, he is naïve, sincere and credulous. It is amazing how such qualities can contribute to the loss of freedom and equality; however, Boxer’s contribution is in its own way not less significant than the one of Napoleon, as he indulged any deeds of Napoleon without viewing them critically. Orwell describes Boxer as one of the “most faithful disciples” of the pigs (37). Boxer is very hard-working; after the rebellion he works so hard that seems “more like three horses than one” (46), and adopts a motto “I will work harder” (46). In the Battle of the Cowshed Boxer fights bravely but feels sad for doing harm to a boy (58), which testifies that he is kind and merciful. Still, these traits do not prevent him from accepting the executions of the so-called traitors – he does not understand it, but he doesn’t protest; the only solution for him is to work harder (94). When Napoleon abolished Sunday debates, Boxer’s reaction was: “Napoleon is always right” (70). Since then, Boxer’s answer to every problem was “I will work harder” and “Napoleon is always right”. He lived up to these maxims, worked hard, and didn’t cast doubt on Napoleon’s decisions. Boxer’s example inspired other animals more than any speeches. He had a real chance to change things to better when he caught a dog – Boxer was the strongest of the animal, and with his example and help the power of pigs could be overthrown. However, he asked Napoleon what to do and let the dog go (92). It is sad that the award for his hard work and obedience was a knacker’s knife.
Therefore, both Napoleon and Boxer contributed significantly to the degradation of ideals of freedom and equality on the farm. The first is guilty of doing everything possible to make this happen and to gain as much benefit as it was possible; the second is guilty of ignorance and not taking an effort to view pigs’ deeds critically. Thus, those who indulge dishonest leaders and obey them gladly are not less guilty of the loss of freedom and equality than the leaders themselves.