Animal Farm - Themes overview

The themes of Animal Farm, showing a hierarchy of animals representing class, unbalanced scales representing equality and inequality, and a whip representing power and control

Animal Farm is a didactic text - Orwell aims to teach the reader a number of lessons on:

  • class
  • equality and inequality
  • power, control and corruption

These themes are explored through the events and characters in the novel, and are an allegory for the Russian Revolution.

The animals' unhappiness represents class struggle, this leads to the Rebellion which offers some equality. Then the pigs' actions allow inequality back on the farm.

The theme of power and control is explored throughout the novel and is highlighted by the characters' relationships on the farm.

The themes are political and explore what happened within Russian society in 1917 onwards. Orwell originally subtitled the novel 'a fairy story' suggesting he intended it as a fable.

Animal Farm is an allegory for the Russian Revolution

It is important to remember that even though the novel is based on events that took place in 1917, the themes are still relevant today.