All Animals are Equal

Origin of All Animals are Equal

This phrase has been used by George Orwell in his phenomenal novel Animal Farm. This is, in fact, one of the seven commandments for the Animal Farm pigs reinterpreted to be read as “ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL / BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.” This phrase is an ultimate example of the systematic abuse of language and logic of pigs, with the intention to take control of the underlings.

Meaning of All Animals are Equal

This phrase points out the type of corruption going on at the fictitious Animal Farm. The initial phrase “animals are equal” refers to all types of animals. The Old Major expresses his ideals that put forward not only individual dignity and comradeship, but also universal voting system and decision making. Hence, no particular group or individual could oppress another. However, it extends to animals of the whole world, without making any distinction. When they later revised this phrase by differentiating between “some” and “all,” in order to specify their own uniqueness, elite nature, and specified status of “some” or particulars. Through this phrase, the pigs imagine themselves as privileged “some.”

Usage of All Animals are Equal

This phrase has wider application, wherever we see hierarchy. The phrase can be used in the given context in different areas of life, including businesses, politics, various departments of government, and even everyday life. Wherever we find discrimination and suppression against low-level workers, or in the administrative level, this line can fit well.

For instance, in the novel, the pigs and Napoleon are among the ruling class, and they and their associates or cronies live a luxurious life, while other animals like sheep and horses, work hard to feed their families. In return, they are fed little and pushed away to the slaughterhouse if they no longer work hard for the rulers.

Literary Source of All Animals are Equal

This phrase is one of the reprinted seven commandments used in the final chapter of George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm. It reads as,

“…Clover also notices that the wall on which the Seven Commandments were written has been repainted: Now, the wall simply reads, “ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL / BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.” Eventually, all the pigs begin carrying whips and wearing Jones’ clothes …”

(Chapter 10, pg. 3-4)

This phrase appears at the end of the narrative, when a hierarchy is set up on the Animal Farm. Pigs rank at the top-most level in the structure, dogs coming next, and then other animals rank accordingly. Pigs are the rulers and the masters. That means they can rewrite or reinterpret commandments to ensure their benefit, and control over other animals.

Literary Analysis of All Animals are Equal

This sentence comprises one of two phrases with contradictory meanings intended by the speaker. Here in this novel, the pigs have reinterpreted this commandment to keep their power and control over other animals. They have removed all other commandments except this one, to ensure that they have predictable control of this farm. Since most of the animals are not educated and obedient, pigs expect them not to ask questions. Under totalitarian regime, working animals are supposed to exist to serve only their leadership, provide their rulers’ comfort and food, and support their exclusive and luxurious lifestyle. Simply, this commandment represents the extent of pigs’ power and their unquestioned rule.

Literary Devices

  • Oxymoron: The phrase uses two contradictory ideas because all animals cannot be equal.

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