Allegories usually tell stories of real events through fictional characters. Animal Farm is known for being a social commentary on why those in power can be corrupted and those without affected. This was written targeting the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union and their abuses. It is not surprising that Orwell chose the animals in the farm to represent a certain social class. This is true as this social commentary is an allegory. The characteristics of these animals are supposed to be parallel to those of certain social groups in the hierarchy in the Soviet Union.
This, however, will be focusing on one particular class. This is the ruling bourgeoisie, represented by the pigs led by Napoleon. George Orwell wrote them in a way that they are to be the representation of Greed, Deceit, and Tyranny. This can be seen not only in how they act or look like, but how their actions have affected other classes such as the working animals.
Culturally Pigs have been symbols for many things. In western culture which the author George Orwell is from, pigs are seen as a symbol of the sin of greed and sloth. It is fitting that Orwell wrote the pigs as a greedy upper class. Since this was an allegory as well, he wrote the characters of the pigs in a way that would not be only the symbols of greed but of apathy as they only are concerned about there own well being. This could be how Orwell perceived the communist regimes that ruled over the Soviet Union and how they have made the lives of Russian citizens abysmal, just like how the Pigs made the other animals suffer. One source states that There are many ways George Orwell was able to describe the pigs in a manner which would be shown as symbols of deceit and greed. One such example is when the pigs hoard the milk and apples.
Despite the animals being promised equality, Squealer deceives them by saying that, “Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us.
Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for YOUR sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples.” This shows that Squealer is deceiving the Animals and using the resources for their “need”. In reality, though, the pigs were keeping the resources for themselves.
Another example is that the pigs lied to the animals regarding the principles of Animalism, by altering the seven commandments. When the seven commandments were implemented, it had said that no animal shall kill. Napoleon, then had it changed to no animal shall kill without cause, as a way of justifying the execution of the hens and other animals In Chapter 7. The rules were also changed regarding sleeping in beds as a justification for the pigs to occupy Jones’ farmhouse. In Chapter 6 they said that the hay in which animals rest in can be counted as a bed. They twisted in to say that “No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets” to get away with them bending the law to their will. Bending the law and lying about the commandments is not the only way we see the pigs tricking the animals for their benefit. They even lied about Boxer and are in a way responsible for his death.
In Chapter 9 when Boxer was injured, he had to recover. The pigs then sent him away and claimed he was being sent to the hospital for recovery. It is discovered however that he was sent to the Knackers to die and turned into glue. The pigs try to cover it up by saying Boxer died in the hospital. It is not just the actions of the Pigs which give them their characteristics, but also their looks can also be a way to make the character of these animals alive. At the last chapter, Chapter 10, the pigs are seen carrying whips on their trotters. The addition of this detail in the book is one way the author, is to express the tyranny the pigs have established themselves as.
The animals are described in reaction to the pigs as, “Amazed and terrified.” It continues by describing the animals ” huddling together, the animals watched the long line of pigs march slowly round the yard. It was as though the world had turned upside-down”. It would be natural for the animals as they have seen the evils of the pigs and have witnessed them betraying Animalism by standing on two feet and wearing human garments. This is a contrast to the hardworking classes of working animals who did the work for the pigs.
They are described with noble traits as a way of making the audience feel pity for them and to focus their anger on the pigs. Boxer is one of the most significant examples of this. He was seen as a loyal hardworking horse. He was always loyal to the causes of animalism and worked harder than he did. It is unfortunate then that he was sold to the glue factory to be slaughtered.
Animal Farm is an allegory for the oppression in the Soviet Union. George Orwell was writing Animal Farm based on how he saw the certain classes of Soviet society. George Orwell was always against the idea of a totalitarian state.
Being in the Spanish Civil War he was able to see the bad sides of not just Hitler and the Nazis but also Stalin and the Red Army. He was able to show this and wrote the character of the Pigs in a way to show this brutality of totalitarians in the form of literature.