Discuss the seven commandments in Animal Farm. How do they change and why? In the dystopian novel, Animal Farm, the animals start a rebellion and create seven commandments that they all have to follow. Old Major, the prize winning boar, created these commandments and discussed them to the animals in his farewell speech. After the animals led the rebellion and took control of the farm, they painted the Seven Commandments up on a wall for all animals to see and read.
The Seven Commandments changed later on in the novel, to suit the needs of the selfish pigs. The original Seven Commandments were: 1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. (Four legs good, two legs bad) 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. The first commandment refers to mankind as the only enemy.
Old Major states in his farewell speech: ‘Man is the only real enemy we have. ’ The main reason animals have this much hatred towards humans is because they dislike how they work for humans, and never get benefits from their hard work and production. Animals also hate the way humans mistreat them, such as forgetting to feed them. The pigs break this commandment. The pigs started talking, making deals and even playing cards with humans. It was Napoleon who first broke this rule by creating a business friendship with Mr Pilkington.
The pigs start to walk on two legs just like humans and this causes shock to the farm animals who say; ‘there is a pig walking on his own two legs’ and this portrays the pigs as enemies because whatever walks on two legs is an enemy. So the pigs change the first commandment to: ‘four legs good, two legs better’ The second commandment states that all animals are friends and should stick together against the enemies. Napoleon breaks this commandment by treating Snowball as an enemy and expelling him from the farm. Napoleon brainwashes the animals’ minds with false accusations against Snowball.
‘Do you know the enemy who has come in the night and overthrown our windmill? SNOWBALL! ’ Friends don’t treat each other the way Napoleon treated Snowball. The third commandment forbids animals from doing a human-like act. The animals don’t want to be like the enemy. The third commandment that forbids animals from wearing clothes is broken by the pigs. This commandment isn’t altered like all the other commandments because by that time the pigs are very powerful and the farm animals are scared to question this act.
‘It did not seem strange when Napoleon was seen…with a pipe in his mouth -no, not even when the pigs took out Mr. Jones’ clothes out of the wardrobes and put them on…’ This quote illustrates to readers how powerful the pigs were near the end of the novel. The fourth commandment is the first alteration to the commandments. This commandment also forbids animals from following human habits, but the pigs break this commandment. The pigs are not as powerful as they were when they broke the third commandment so they had to alter this commandment to: ‘No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.
’ This alteration was added to fit the needs of the pigs. This alteration is nothing compared to the bigger alteration Napoleon makes to the sixth commandment which allows the animals to murder each other only if they have a ‘reason’. The alteration they make is: ‘No animal shall kill another animal without cause’ They make this alteration after Napoleon kills the animals that confessed to ‘crimes’ believed to have been inspired by Snowball. The fifth commandment is altered due to Napoleon’s selfish acts.
Napoleon and the other pigs get drunk and they alter the commandment because of suspicions from the farm animals. ‘It was near nine o’clock when Squealer made is appearance, walking slowly and dejectedly, his eyes dull… with every appearance of being seriously ill. ’ This quotes shows how sick and drunk Squealer looked, so after that night he altered the commandment to : ‘No animal shall drink alcohol to excess’ The pigs get so addicted to drinking that they forget all the commandments and start selling the farms resources to be able to afford alcohol for themselves.
They sell Boxer’s body for a crate of nice food and alcohol. The pigs are very selfish at this point because they see themselves as superior. At the end of the novel all the commandments are rubbed off the wall and replaced with: ‘All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others’ . This commandment means that the pigs are ‘more equal’ than the other animals. The pigs weren’t treating other animals equally from the start of the rebellion. We see their treatment to other animals in the following extract.
‘The mystery of where the milk went to was soon cleared up. It was mixed … into the pigs’ mash. The early apples were now ripening, and the grass of the orchard was littered with windfalls. The animals had assumed as a matter of course that these would be SHARED OUT EQUALLY; one day, however, the order went forth that all the windfalls were to be collected and brought …the use of the pigs’ The seven commandments were made into one commandment and that commandment was made to clarify the seventh commandment.
Pigs wanted to clarify to the animals that they were more powerful than them. To conclude, the commandments were created to show the reader how the pigs changed and betrayed the idea of Animalism. The pigs became the ‘enemies’ because they were contradicting the commandments that they had agreed on and started acting like humans. The pigs changed the commandments for their needs and selfish behaviors.