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Analysis Of Old Major's Speech In Animal Farm

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In the allegorical novel Animal Farm by George Orwell, the aging pig Old Major speaks to all the animals on the farm, making a stirring speech calling them to arms. He tells them that Man is the enemy, and a rebellion is inevitable.His clever use of rhetorical devices such as appeal to ethos, rhetorical questions, among many others, is what makes his speech so effective. Before Old Major makes any actual arguments, he appeals to ethos. The first paragraph is entirely dedicated to establishing credibility with the audience. This is further reinforced later on through implications of great knowledge and experience. It is evident that before Old Major gave his speech he already had great authority, since everyone gathered to hear him speak, but…show more content…
His diction is in fact instrumental to his success in convincing his audience. He says, “no animal escapes the cruel knife in the end. You young porkers who are sitting in front of me, every one of you will scream your lives out at the block… To that horror we all must come… [italics mine]” This subtle use of graphic word choice makes for horrific imagery in the animals’ minds, further generating even more hatred and resentment against Farmer Jones. Old Major expounds on the many grievances the animals have suffered, even listing the gruesome fates of individual animals, stating that Boxer will be sold to the knacker, who will “cut your throat and boil you”, and that Jones “ties… a brick round [the dogs’] necks and drowns them.” Thus, he turns the animals against Man through exposing the tyranny of Man and listing numerous inherent lackings and vices. Old Major’s selection of heavily connotated and illustrative words makes for a vivid and compelling speech. Furthermore, Old Major utilizes hyperbole in appealing to the pathos of the animals. He claims that “No animal in England knows the meaning of happiness or leisure after he is a year old. No animal in England is free.” even though he knows that is not entirely the case. He uses nuanced exaggeration in order to work everyone up into a fit of indignation and rouse their sense of injustice so that they will listen to whatever plan he
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