The main purpose of satire is to attack, and intensely criticize the target subject. This is very well carried out in the classic piece of satire, Animal Farm. The main targets this political satire are the society that was created in Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, and the leaders involved in it. George Orwell successfully condemns these targets through satirical techniques such as irony, fable, and allegory. The immediate object of attack in Orwell’s political satire is the society that was created in Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.
The events narrated in Animal Farm obviously and continuously refer to events in another story, the history of the Russian Revolution. In other words, Animal Farm is not only a charming fable (A Fairy Story, as Orwell playfully subtitles it) and a bitter political satire; it is also an allegory. The main target of this allegory is Stalin, represented by Napoleon the pig. He represents the human frailties of any revolution. Orwell believed that although socialism is a good ideal, it could never be successfully adopted due to uncontrollable sins of human nature.
For example, although Napoleon seems at first to be a good leader, he is eventually overcome by greed and soon becomes power-hungry. Of course Stalin did too in Russia, leaving the original equality of socialism behind, giving him all the power and living in luxury while the common pheasant suffered. Orwell explains: “Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer – except of course for the pigs and the dogs. ” it’s not necessarily the system that is corrupt or faulty, but the individuals in power.
Old Major, with all his good intentions, took no note of the crucial fact that whilst his ideals were sound and moral, corrupt individuals found ways and opportunities to exploit those ideals to fulfill their own purposes. So Orwell successfully points out the frailties of his satirical targets by using the satirical technique of the allegory. Another main satirical technique used to condemn these targets is the use of fable, or storytelling. A fable is a story, usually having a moral – in which beasts talk and act like men and women. Orwell’s characters are both animal and human.
The pigs, for example eat mash – real pig food – but with milk in it that they have grabbed and persuaded the other animals to let them keep (a human action). The dogs growl and bite the way real dogs do–but to support Napoleon’s drive for political power. Orwell never forgets this delicate balance between how real animals actually behave and what human qualities his animals are supposed to represent. predictable plotline, and happy ending. But because of the nature of the content in Animal farm, the content is completely incongruent to the style.
Another irony that occurs in Animal Farm is when pig becomes man. In that Old Major at the beginning assumes that man is the only enemy of the animals. He emphasises that animals must never imitate man, especially his vices. Gradually in their life-style and their indifference to the animals, the pigs exploit the animals much more than Jones ever did. This irony particularly depicts how low the pigs had actually become, and how Stalin had made things much worse than it had originally been under the Czar’s rule.
This further enhances the satirical aim of condemning the target. Through satirical techniques such as irony, fable, and allegory, George Orwell paints a vivid picture of the evils in Stalinist Russia in his book Animal Farm. He is very effective in doing so and condemns his targets through every thread of his book including the characters, the themes, and even the style. He does so simply, yet poignantly, and is very successful in achieving the satirical aim of condemning his targets.