Accordingto popular belief, there are seven deadly sins – pride, envy, gluttony, wrath,lust, sloth, and greed. Since the advent of Christianity, these sins have beenattributed to many of the evils in the world. Could some of these sins possiblylead to the downfall of a revolution? Certainly, as is evidenced in the twistedsociety of Animal Farm. With the aid of Boxer and the sheep’sfanaticism, Napoleon’s greed and Mollie’s pride collectively led to thedestruction of the Animal Farm.
Merriam-Websterdefines greed as “a selfish andexcessive desire for more of something than is needed”. It is not difficultfor readers to see how Napoleon is the natural embodiment of this in the novel.Napoleon expresses a constant thirst for more.More privileges, despite the fact that the idea of Animalism revolvesaround the equal distribution of power and wealth between society members.
Shortlyafter the death of Old Major, Napoleon assumed a leadership role. After acquiringthis role, he decided that his fellow pigs shall receive the star harvests ofthe farm: apples and milk. Following this infraction of Animalism, severalsacred commandments were warped to serve the pigs and Napoleon. They began tosleep in beds, entered contracts with the formerly reviled humans, drank alcohol,and most notoriously, slaughtered other animals. Subsequently, Napoleoninsisted on more titles.
Comrade Napoleon was changed to Our Leader, inaddition to many other flowery appellations. He even went so far as to takeaway another animal’s hard won title of Animal Hero, First Class and awarded itto himself, without having lifted a finger in defense of the farm. Napoleon’sgreed did not bode well for the future of Animal Farm. As mentioned above,Animalism is a system of thought that is based off of the idea that everyone isequal and therefore deserves an equal share of the wealth generated by thesociety in question. Greed cannot thrive in this sort of system, and has one oftwo choices: corrupt the leaders of the society or perish. In this case, greedchose the path of survival and corrupted Napoleon, which led to the eventualdownfall of a hopeful revolution. Knowingwhat one wants and achieving that goal is a quality that is greatly admired.When one’s wants obscure the needs of others and collapse a burgeoning revolutionthat is in pursuit of creating a better society…well, that quality is notadmired so much as abhorred.
Mollie the horse is a perfect example of this.Mollie had a great deal of personal pride. In chapter three of Animal Farm, theanimals were tasked with learning the alphabet in order for there to be equalparticipation in the running of the farm and the completion of any accompanyingpaperwork. Many of the animals did not have the intellectual capacity toprogress past the first two or three letters of the alphabet. Mollie did notsuffer from this, yet “…refused to learnany but the five letters which spelt her own name.
“(21) as she felt thesewere the only letters that were worth any use in the alphabet. This is a mereoffence when compared to Mollie’s insistence that she be given sugar andribbons. The Seven Commandments clearly stated that human adornments and luxurieswere to be abstained from. The Animal Farm was also a new republic.
Thus, itcould not provide these luxuries and would need to engage in trade. Trade wasconsidered treason as it involved humans. When one lets their pride get the bestof them, they start to believe that they are inherently better than thosearound them. Mollie let her pride consume her and also began to believe thatthe system of equality in place did not cater to her “superior” needs.
Anindividual that holds this belief may go to great lengths in order to satisfytheir “superior” needs. Mollie resorts to treason to get what she believes shedeserves. Eventually, Mollie’s betrayal was circulated amongst the farm animalsand she ran away to join the humans, becoming the farm’s first deserter.
Mollie’sdesertion was one of many straws that rested on the back of the Animal Farm. Itmay not have been the last, but it was undeniably one of the first straws thateventually broke the back of the Animal Farm and sent it crashing to theground. Thevices embodied by Mollie and Napoleon could not have led to the destruction ofAnimal Farm without the aid of Boxer and the sheep’s fanaticism. In order forany society to have some degree of success, members of that society must beeducated and cautious in believing the words of their leaders. In this way, themasses can detect any attempts the leader may make in descending the societyinto ruin. Boxer and the sheep, two animals that held great influence overtheir fellow comrades, failed spectacularly in these two requirements. Boxerwas not an educated animal- in fact, it is said in the novel that “…he could not get beyond the letter D.
“(21). Similarly, the sheep were equally obtuse, and at first, delighted inreciting the one maxim they could remember- four legs good, two legs bad. Boxer and the sheep’s lack ofeducation meant that they were unable to contribute ideas to help better thefarm and nip Napoleon’s reign of terror in the bud. Each animal was a vesselfor Napoleon’s lies, and thus expressed their wholehearted agreement withNapoleon’s fabrications throughout Animal Farm. In several of theearlier chapters of Animal Farm, the sheep chanted their harmless maxim.When Napoleon’s whims decreed this unacceptable, the chant changed to “fourlegs good, two legs better”-essentiallyrejecting the very first commandment, “What goes up on two legs is an enemy”.An even worse incident occurs in Chapter Seven, when Napoleon executes a largeportion of the farm’s population. Boxer blames the animals and himself for not working hard enough, rather thanconnecting the bloodshed to his ruthless leader.
With allowances such as these,it is no wonder that the ideals of the Animal Farm were shattered so easily. Aristotle,the famous Greek philosopher once said, “Thewhole is greater than the sum of its parts.” With a leader consumed by greed, an arrogantand prideful deserter, and unquestioning devotees…with these parts, is therereally a possibility for societal greatness? Look no further than theconclusion of Animal Farm for your answer. When a society does not tendto its parts and rather looks at its whole in anticipation of good, it may justreceive the opposite. A whole in which all animals are said to be equal, butsome are more equal than others.