Power Corrupts

May 15, 2010
By Allison Roth GOLD, Pound Ridge, New York
Allison Roth GOLD, Pound Ridge, New York
13 articles 0 photos 0 comments

One who has power can lose the sense of right and wrong so that morals do not matter. Absolute power corrupts those who possess it. This can be seen throughout history, such as during World War II, and proven by the actions of Napoleon in the allegory Animal Farm by George Orwell.
Power corrupts those who possess it is an important theme in Animal Farm. Napoleon, the leader, grows to be corrupt, selfish, and beguiling. For example, Napoleon enforces The Seven Commandments which include statements such as, Whatever goes up on two legs is an enemy, No animal shall wear clothes, No animal shall drink alcohol, and No animal shall kill any other animal. By the end of the book, he individually breaks all of these rules for his benefit. Even worse, he uses his power to alter the commandments in order to justify his wrong actions. Since Napoleon has absolute power he knows he can break the rules, bend the truth, and misuse his authority for his personal gain.
Another example is also illustrated with the actions of Napoleon, the power-hungry dictator of Animal Farm. Napoleon uses Squealer to spread false information in order to influence public opinion. Napoleon persuades the public against Snowball by having Squealer broadcast lies and propaganda. The propaganda, lies, and false information that are created by Napoleon directly targeted Snowball and blatantly contradicted the truth. For example, Napoleon directs Squealer to tell the other animals of Snowball’s deceitful, scheming action during the recent war. The animals believed that Snowball, while in the midst of chaos, shot one of his own kin. However, this is not true at all. In fact, Snowball was the bravest and most valiant warrior in this war. Although the other animals knew this from witnessing his actions during the war, they believed the false information since Squealer persuaded them. Therefore, the public was turned against Snowball due to lies made up by Napoleon. Power allowed Napoleon to manipulate others and distort information, which then ensures ultimate power and control. Napoleon’s absolute power leads to corruption, which maintains his control. Therefore, he cannot be stopped.
In addition to Animal Farm, this thesis can be shown in real life. For example, Adolf Hitler was a very powerful leader during World War II who was also extremely corrupt and unethical. His power was used to kill people, dominate, and invade other regions. Hitler misused his authority to advance his personal ideas, beliefs, and plans for the “perfect” future. He used his power to kill millions of people in order to satisfy solely his own wants.
In conclusion, absolute power most definitely leads to corruption. This has been exemplified throughout the course of time in real life and portrayed as a theme in Animal Farm. Power creates corruption, in which leaders will manipulate the truth, other people, and morals for their own benefit.

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This article has 1 comment.

brian123 said...
on Mar. 10 2011 at 12:13 am
this is very helpful! thanks


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