As a democratic socialist, Orwell had a great deal of
respect for Karl Marx, the German political economist, and even
for Vladimir Ilych Lenin, the Russian revolutionary leader. His
critique of Animal Farm has little to do with the Marxist ideology
underlying the Rebellion but rather with the perversion of that
ideology by later leaders. Major, who represents both Marx and Lenin,
serves as the source of the ideals that the animals continue to
uphold even after their pig leaders have betrayed them.
Though his portrayal of Old Major is largely positive,
Orwell does include a few small ironies that allow the reader to
question the venerable pig’s motives. For instance, in the midst
of his long litany of complaints about how the animals have been
treated by human beings, Old Major is forced to concede that his
own life has been long, full, and free from the terrors he has vividly
sketched for his rapt audience. He seems to have claimed a false
brotherhood with the other animals in order to garner their support
for his vision.
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