Seven Commandments

The Seven Commandments in the novel "Animal Farm" by George Orwell were a list of rules or laws that were supposed to keep order and ensure elementary Animalism within Animal Farm. The Seven Commandments were designed to unite the animals together in a common cause against the humans and to prevent animals from following the humans' evil habits.

Plot overview

The Seven Commandments

#Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
#Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
#No animal shall wear clothes.
#No animal shall sleep in a bed.
#No animal shall drink alcohol.
#No animal shall kill any other animal.
#All animals are equal. Written originally by Snowball, the Seven Commandments were the "unalterable" principles of Animalism. Since not all of the animals can remember them (or read them), they are boiled down into one basic statement: "Four legs good, two legs bad!" (with wings counting as legs for this purpose), which the sheep constantly repeat, distracting the crowd from the lies of the pigs. (This was later exploited by Napoleon - see below - as the sheep often interrupted Snowball during crucial points during his speeches.)


Later on, Napoleon and his pigs were corrupted by the absolute power they held over the farm. To maintain their popularity with the other animals, Squealer secretly painted additions to some commandments to make it benefit the pigs while keeping them free of accusation of breaking the laws. The Pigs manage to get away with this because only Benjamin the donkey and Muriel the goat can read; thus only those two have the ability to challenge the Pigs and the change in wording. This leads to problems later on.

All of the Seven Commandments are eventually broken by the pigs for their own personal gain. Squealer constantly changes the Commandments to the pigs' benefit, taking advantage of the other animals. For example:

*No animal shall sleep in a bed "with sheets";
*No animal shall drink alcohol "to excess"
*No animal shall kill any other animal "without cause".


In the end, the pigs learn to stand on two legs and regard the four-legged populace as inferiors. They start to wear Mr. Jones' clothes, sleep in beds and drink alcohol. They brutally order the killings of all of the confessing animals (who are forced to confess to crimes they did not commit when they see the animals' poor quality of life). Later, when Boxer the horse–their most loyal and hardworking follower–is hurt, he is "sent to the vet" but actually sent to a horse-slaughterer by the pigs who buy a crate of whiskey with the proceeds. The pigs tell the rest of the animals that the slaughtering van they saw was no longer owned by the slaughterer but by the vet, yet not painted over, and that Boxer died despite all the attention and medical procedures that were given to him at the hospital.

The Commandments' summation "Four legs good, two legs bad!" is changed to "Four legs good, two legs "better!" as the pigs become more human.

The Last Commandment

By the end of the book, Squealer reduces all of the commandments into a singular law to control the other animals completely, while appearing to keep within the old boundaries of the Animalism laws:

*All animals are equal, "but some animals are more equal than others".

This ends up being the famous "slogan" of Animalism. It is a famously remembered line from the book, and is quoted during debates and discussions about communism. It is an example of doublethink, a concept Orwell used in "Nineteen Eighty-Four.

"Animal Farm" film adaptation

In the film, there are only 5 commandments, as number 3 was not present, and numbers 1 and 2 were merged into one. Only two of the original commandments were added onto: the rule against beds and the rule against killing other animals. But by the end of the movie, the rules had been unified into: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".

The Five Commandments of Animalism:

#No animal shall sleep in a bed.
#No animal shall drink alcohol.
#Four legs good, two legs bad.
#No animal shall kill another animal.
#All animals are equal.Edited Five Commandments of Animalism:

#No animal shall sleep in a bed "with sheets".
#No animal shall drink alcohol "to excess".
#Four legs good, two legs "better!"
#No animal shall kill another animal "without cause".
#All animals are equal, "but some animals are more equal than others".

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