How Is Marxism Portrayed in 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell? Essay

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How is Marxism portrayed throughout ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell?

The main aim of Marxism is to bring about a classless society, and ‘Animal Farm’ is generally considered to be a Marxist novel, as all its characters share a similar ambition at the beginning. ‘Animal Farm’ represents an example of the oppressed masses rising up to form their own classless society, whilst offering a subtle critique on Stalin’s Soviet Russia, and communism in general. Orwell is, ironically, revolutionary in his work, as contextually in 1945, communism was a ‘taboo’ subject, punishable in post-war America by arrest and even death. It is clear from the political references in ‘Animal Farm’, that Orwell considered Russia, and consequently communism as a
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In this way, Orwell portrays the ways in which the Russian people were influenced by figureheads and ideological saints. ‘Napoleon’, another of Orwell’s characters, portrays the role of the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin – ‘Man of Steel’. The novel identifies Stalin’s ambition to lead and control the masses, winning over his more intelligent and influential counterpart, Leon Trotsky, who is represented by ‘Snowball’. ‘Napoleon’ also identifies himself with the French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte, whom Orwell considered to be a repressive power seeker and dictator.

The resemblance of some of the novel’s events to events in Soviet history is indubitable. For example, Snowball’s and Napoleon’s power struggle is a direct allegory of Trotsky’s and Stalin’s. Frederick’s trade agreement with Napoleon, and his subsequent breaking of the agreement, represents the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact that preceded World War II. The Battle of the Windmill represents World War II itself. The fact that Orwell’s characters reflect so obviously the figureheads in Soviet Russia is paramount to the effect of its dramatic and satirical critique. The purpose of satire is to point out or illustrate societal flaws by mocking them or highlighting their absurdity. So the outcome of satire can be the change of those behaviours. Animal Farm was published on the heels of World War II, in England in 1945 and in the United States in 1946.
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