Thesis: “The character of Old Major in the story Animal Farm by George Orwell denies truths about the nature of evil when he says all men are the enemy and claims that mans’ removal will abolish the root cause of suffering.”
Old Major’s assessment that human beings are the root enemy is not true. His assessment that the replacement of their rule by a representative of animals will alleviate the latter’s suffering is also hypocritical. This is so because, as later events in the book will reveal, his call for a revolution is based on selfish motives. Upon usurpation of power from the cruel Jones’, Old Major re-enacts much of the same rules of oppression that existed under the Jones’. Each of the revolutionary principles that Old Major used to trump up support for his coup would gradually be modified to suit his own interests. When Old Major takes charge of Manor Farm, there were lots of expectations from other animals in the farm that they would see an egalitarian and compassionate future. But such high hopes would soon be proved illusionary, as Old Major would start mimicking many of the wicked methods and oppressive principles of the former human masters. In the end, as Orwell clearly illustrates, the station and condition of most of the animals in the farm remains the same though the leadership has changed. The transfer of leadership from humans to animals does not bring about any significant change to the functioning of the farm. The character of Old Major proves that evil is not confined to human beings but is evident in large measure in animals as well. Hence, as George Orwell subtly suggests, evil arises from the possession of power (political or social) and not from inherent natures of humans and animals.
Orwell, George (1946). Animal Farm. New York: The New American Library. ISBN 141936524X.