Fear as a powerful means of control is a major theme in George Orwell’s classic novel Animal Farm. It describes how the animals of a farm, under the leadership of several pig leaders, have successfully broken free of the control of the human farm owner Mr Jones and subsequently took over the farm. It is interesting to note that while the animal leaders were fighting against the suppression of humans, they are doing exactly the same thing to each other, using fear to achieve domination and control over other animals in the farm, which ends up in dictatorship—a state as bad as it was before.
The quotes below show how fear is manipulated as a tool of control by the three key pig leaders of Animal Farm, namely: Old Major, Squealer and Napoleon.
Old Major and “Animalism”
Old Major, an aged purebred boar, is a spiritual leader of the Animal Farm, drawing up principles of the revolution against the human owners.
1. He gave a speech to his fellow farm animals which instigated fear in his audience calling their current life as “misery”. He said:
“….What is the nature of this life of ours? Let us face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short”.
2. He also called the life of animals in a farm run by humans as “slavery”:
“We are born, we are given just so much food as will keep the breath in our bodies, and those of us who are capable of it are forced to work to the last atom of our strength; and the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty. No animal in England knows the meaning of happiness or leisure after he is a year old. No animal in England is free. The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth.” (Chapter 1)
3. He also instigated hatred against humans, specifically the farm owner Mr Jones, provoking the animals into rebellion to take over the Manor Farm and rename it as “Animal Farm”. He said:
“Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever. Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.” (Chapter 1)
See also: “Animal Farm” free download in pdf
Fear and “The Seven Commandments”
4. Subsequent to Old Major’s speech, several animal leaders elaborated his teachings into a complete system of thought, to which they gave the name of “Animalism”. They later drew up the “Seven Commandments” which they said would form “an unalterable law by which all the animals on Animal Farm must live for ever after”. By calling them “commandments”, everybody was forced to follow them and to fear breaking them.
“The Seven Commandments:
Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
No animal shall wear clothes.
No animal shall sleep in a bed.
No animal shall drink alcohol.
No animal shall kill any other animal.
All animals are equal.”
5. A core principle of “animalism” is to define what is good and bad:Four legs good, two legs bad (George Orwell, Animal Farm, Chapter 3) Click To Tweet
Napoleon’s Fear Quotes
Napoleon is a large boar and is the leader of Animal Farm, known for getting his own way.
6. He created fear with his army of violent dogs to drive out his political opponent Snowball by force. Anybody associated with Snowball and those who spoke against Napoleon could be killed.
“…nine enormous dogs wearing brass−studded collars came bounding into the barn. They dashed straight for Snowball, who only sprang from his place just in time to escape their snapping jaws. … Silent and terrified, the animals crept back into the barn.” (Chapter 5)
7. The animals are brainwashed with mottos about Napoleon as being always right, creating a sense of fear in those who dare to question the leader:
“If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right.” (Chapter 5)
8. He makes the animals to work like slaves and keeps them happy by associating the work as “for their benefit”.
“ALL that year the animals worked like slaves. But they were happy in their work; they grudged no effort or sacrifice, well aware that everything that they did was for the benefit of themselves and those of their kind who would come after them, and not for a pack of idle, thieving human beings.” (Chapter 6)
9. He also uses the word “voluntary” to give a false sense of freedom but the animals are actually forced into working to not have their food reduced.
“Throughout the spring and summer they worked a sixty−hour week, and in August Napoleon announced that there would be work on Sunday afternoons as well. This work was strictly voluntary, but any animal who absented himself from it would have his rations reduced by half.” (Chapter 6)
10. Napoleon is referred affectionately in various terms:
“Napoleon was now never spoken of simply as “Napoleon.” He was always referred to in formal style as “our Leader, Comrade Napoleon,” and this pigs liked to invent for him such titles as Father of All Animals, Terror of Mankind, Protector of the Sheep−fold, Ducklings’ Friend, and the like. In his speeches, Squealer would talk with the tears rolling down his cheeks of Napoleon’s wisdom the goodness of his heart, and the deep love he bore to all animals everywhere, even and especially the unhappy animals who still lived in ignorance and slavery on other farms.” (Chapter 8)
11. The animals were also being tricked into believing they have the power to vote but in reality Napoleon is the only candidate running for the president. But the animals were forced to vote for him because of a fear for him and his dogs.
“In April, Animal Farm was proclaimed a Republic, and it became necessary to elect a President. There was only one candidate, Napoleon, who was elected unanimously.” (Chapter 9)
12. To make the animals in the farm work hard, Napoleon defined the universally desired concept of “happiness” in accordance with his interests. He said:
“…the luxuries of which Snowball had once taught the animals to dream, the stalls with electric light and hot and cold water, and the three−day week, were no longer talked about. Napoleon had denounced such ideas as contrary to the spirit of Animalism. The truest happiness, he said, lay in working hard and living frugally.” (Chapter 10)
Squealer’s Fear Quotes
Squealer is a small pig who serves as Napoleon’s second-in-command and minister of propaganda.
13. After the animals have successfully resisted Mr. Jone’s control in the farm and evicted him, Squealer used the undesirable outcome of the return of Mr. Jones as a threat to make the other animals perform their duties.
He said: “Do you know what would happen if we pigs failed in our duty? Jones would come back! Yes, Jones would come back! … surely there is no one among you who wants to see Jones come back?” (Animal Farm, Chapter 3)
14. Squealer tried to frame Snowball, Napoleon’s rival, as a criminal. He said:
“I warn every animal on this farm to keep his eyes very wide open. For we have reason to think that some of Snowball’s secret agents are lurking among us at this moment.” (Animal Farm, Chapter 7)
15. Squealer also tried to frame Snowball as an enemy:
“…a most terrible thing has been discovered. Snowball has sold himself to Frederick of Pinchfield Farm, who is even now plotting to attack us and take our farm away from us! … But there is worse than that. … Snowball was in league with Jones from the very start! He was Jones’s secret agent all the time. It has all been proved by documents which he left behind him and which we have only just discovered.” (Chapter 7)