Dictatorship is a system where the government was ruled by one individual, a dictator (Britannica, 2013). During the time of the Russian Revolution, the last dictator of Russia, Czar Nicholas, was overthrown in the revolution. The dictatorship system was then replaced by a communist government, the leaders of the revolution gradually gave into greed and dishonesty, turning back into a dictatorship system. This was also shown in the events of Animal Farm, where Napoleon uses the manipulative words of Squealer and the violence of his guard dogs to slowly turn the farm back in to the dictatorship system, much like the time before the revolution.
Relation to Animal Farm:
In the time period before the Russian Revolution, Russia was ruled under a dictatorship system. Czar Nicholas, the last emperor of Russia, had complete control of the government, and later on took control of the military (Biography in context, 2006). The situation was similar in Animal Farm, in which the dictator was Mr Jones, the owner of the farm. Much like an emperor or dictator, Mr Jones was the one who put the animals to work. He did not do any work himself, yet he was the one who lived in luxury. Meanwhile, the animals he was in charge of worked to the best of their ability. The rewards of their hard work, however, was all taken from them by Mr Jones, for example the eggs that the hens lay, and were given back the “the bare minimum that would prevent them from starving” (p4).
After the Czar was overthrown during the revolution, the monarchy system was then replaced by a communist one. This also occurred in Animal Farm. After Mr Jones was overthrown by the animals and banished from the farm, the pigs came up with seven commandments:
“ 1.Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
7. All animals are equal.” (p5)
These commandments aimed for a different system than the one before, where the farm was ruled by Mr Jones, who didn’t work but still lived in luxury while the animals struggled to survive. The seven commandments aimed for the animals of the farm to be equal, and share an equal distribution of resources.
However, the communist system Russia has established did not last as long as people expected it to. Several years after the Czar was overthrown and executed, Joseph Stalin, who was part of the three-man committee in charge of the country’s affairs at that time, turned against his two associates in the committee. After some power struggle between Stalin and a few others who stood in his path, Stalin became the dictator of the Soviet Union in 1929. Joseph Stalin’s road to power was also shown in Animal Farm. After Mr Jones was banished from the farm, Stalin started to slowly turn against another pig, Snowball, after a disagreement over a windmill. In the end, Snowball was banished from the farm and sentenced to death, leaving Napoleon as the leader of Animal Farm.
Author’s intentions and effectiveness:
Throughout the novel George Orwell effectively used the events of Animal Farm to represent the transition of dictatorship in the Russian Revolution. By looking at the dictatorship system at the start and towards the end of the novel, readers will also be able to understand how the system changed during the time of the Russian Revolution. As a result, this would also further widen the reader’s understanding of the Russian Revolution as well as the novel.