An Analysis of Old Major’s Speech in Animal Farm by George Orwell

Last Updated: 08 Nov 2022
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George Orwell's animal farm begins with a wise old pig delivering a speech to his farm "comrades", after their oppressor owner goes to sleep. Old Major, the giver of the speech, speaks of rebellion after his soon to be passing. He wishes to spread his ideas of "animalism" to the other farm animals. The speech inspires the animals; they believe in his wisdom and understand his communistic ideology, and break out singing "Beasts of England”. Old major utilizes many effective rhetorical devices that give his speech more character, and make it worth listening to. He draws contrast between the animal's hard life they live and the reality of the human's oppressive ways. Old Majors repetition and rhetorical questions emphasize the animal's mistreatment and draws them into his ideas.

Throughout Old Major's speech, he repeats words and phrases such as "comrades" and "all animals in England”. These give the animals a sense of brother-hood and family. This creates an attentive atmosphere because, to succeed in the uprising, he had all the animals listening to him for what they all would do. The use of the term 'no animal' is used to draw up a list of laws to be followed by animals to insure that they do not come to look like people and to remind them of the injustice they have faced. “No animal in England knows the meaning of happiness or leisure after he is a year old." The animals at the Farm have a sense of despair, as it dawns upon them that their complete life was used. Doing so will generate hostility amongst humans and animals, which would make a success of Old Major's project due to the uprisings it can cause.

Along with the statement "no animal," Old Major uses the term "comrade" frequently. His use of the word depicts him as equal to the rest of the species, and tries to reassure them that he and the rest of them have endured Man's oppression. His line "Now, comrades, what is the nature of this life of ours?" He illustrates the fact that, while he is still fortunate to have lived a life, he is equal to the rest of the animals in the way they have all been wrongly treated. So all the animals value Old Major and look up to him, he generates a saner environment by connecting them with the repetition of "comrades" that enables him to persuade all the farm animals. Alluding to the existing animals in the future might support the revolt, as this will motivate animals to fight united amid their differences.

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