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How Propaganda Plays a Part in Governments in George Orwell's Animal Farm

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Propaganda in Governments

In order to stay in control, a leader must be liked by their subjects. In many cases, especially in a cruel dictatorship, propaganda is used to keep subjects loyal. George Orwell’s Animal Farm is about farm animals, overworked and abused by their owner, Mr. Jones. When the idea of a rebellion arises, the animals overthrow Mr. Jones in hopes of creating a socialism. In the beginning, everything goes to plan, with everyone working to the best of their abilities, and everyone is equal. Before long, however, a definite leader arises, a pig named Napoleon. A cruel leader, Napoleon must keep the other animals on his side.

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One way he does this is by creating false statistics to ‘prove’ to them that even though “Life nowadays was harsh and bare, that they are often hungry and cold…but doubtless it had been worse in the old days”(pg 113). Now that the animals believe that their lives are improving, they are more likely to continue supporting Napoleon, and he is able to retain his power. If Napoleon had let the animals decide their state of well being for themselves, there is a good chance that a good number of them would realize that they are, in fact, much worse off now than they were under the rule of Mr. Jones.

Before the rebellion, a song was created called Beasts of England to promote the rebellion. The lyrics depict a world void of all cruelty, where everyone is equal. The animals are so proud of the rebellion that they continue to sing Beasts of England even after the rebellion occurs until one day it is announced that, “By special decree of comrade Napoleon, Beasts of England had been abolished”(pg 88). Napoleon is completely aware that he is a cruel leader, and Beasts of England is about standing up to cruelty. Napoleon does not want the animals to realize that they can have an uprising against him.

By far, Napoleon’s most used tactic is fear. Fear is an excellent motivator, and Napoleon uses it to keep the animals in line. For example, when a few of the animals admit to committing treason against Napoleon, his dogs “Promptly tore their throats out, and in a terrible voice Napoleon demanded whether any other animal had anything to confess”(pg 83). Napoleon uses these public executions to scare the animals into obedience. After seeing what could happen if they did, the animals wouldn’t dare speak out against their leader, for fear of their own lives.

Power can lead to corruption, and in order to maintain control, a corrupted and power hungry leader must keep their followers loyal.This can be seen in the character Napoleon in the book Animal Farm. Napoleon accomplishes this by use of propaganda. He uses total control, lies and fear to retain his position. Humans are greedy by nature, and leaders often abuse their power. It is up to their followers to stop this. If something is wrong, people need to speak up for what they believe.

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