Animal Farm is a classic portrayal of how power can effect the goals and hopes of a society. In this essay, I will explore the irony of Animal Farm, and how it used to satirize communism and dictatorships.
The story begins with a revolution, and high hopes for the society being developed by the animals. But slowly, as the leading officials get a taste of power, things begin to change.
The Commandments, a code by which all animals on Animal Farm live by, is secretly altered when the pigs (leading officials) begin to realize how great it is to live as a human being. Once they start drinking, No animal may drink alcohol soon becomes No animal may drink alcohol to excess. Like the prior reference, once the pigs begin sleeping in beds, No animal shall sleep in a bed becomes No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets. These are a crystal clear examples of the novels dynamic use of verbal irony. The novel also has some good situational irony. A good example is when the pigs begin to walk, something that they vowed they would never do, or when they got drunk, again, something they vowed they would never do. In addition to verbal and situational irony, we can too find some dramatic irony. When Boxer is sent off to be slaughtered, the characters trust Squealer when he says Boxer is being taking off to a hospital, but the reader knows the truth. While that is a good example, the best, perhaps, is the ending where it is stated that the onlooker could not tell the difference between pig and man.
The two most prominent themes in Animal Farm, freedom and oppression, play a very important role in the novels irony. While the animals ultimate goal is to break free from oppression, they ironically oppress themselves in the process. Here irony is used to show how lack of equality, no matter what the original intent was, can result in oppression.
In the end, we can see clearly why communism has failed, and at the same time are entertained. With its razor sharp wit and surprisingly realistic portrayal of an oppressive society, it is no wonder why Animal Farm is hailed the greatest political commentary of all time.