For 3000 years humans still have not learned how to use power. We have seen that those who acquire power, they become poisoned with evil and wicked behaviors which begin to monopilate and dismantle their minds. Throughout history we have seen how corruption has taken place due to authority. As early as 1206 Genghis Khan brutally slaughtered civilians en masse. Czar Ivan IV was nicknamed Ivan the Terrible for obvious reasons. From 1922-1943 Benito Mussolini organized violent units called Blackshirts and formed an alliance with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in which he introduced anti-Semitic policies in Italy. One of the most known corrupt leaders was Adolf Hitler who took over Germany along with many other countries from 1933-1945 in which he devised a plan to create his ideal “master race” and forcefully sent people to concentration camps, where they were tortured and worked to death. These however are sadly just a few cases that have occured over time among many others. In Animal Farm, Harrison Bergeron, and Won’t Get Fooled Again the authors use staritical devices to show that absolute power corrupts those who possess it.
The book Animal Farm by George Orwell, is a complex allegory about the events leading up to and following the Russian Revolution. Throughout the book, the pigs show how when people are given absolute power they begin to abuse their power and turn into a degenerate. After Napoleon took total control he became a fraudulent leader. Napoleon viewed himself as more important than the other animals. The farmhouse symbolizes the division of power throughout the farm as whoever does not reside in the house is inferior. Once again Orwell uses irony to portray his message that even though the animals began with the goal of achieving equality, the pigs eventually were no longer equal to the others. Napoleon established fear in the other animals by using dogs to remain in control. The farm was declared a Republic, meaning the people and their elected representatives hold the supreme power. With just a single candidate running for President, really made it so there was no choice and ironically makes the Animal Farm look more like a dictatorship than a Republic that they claim it to be. This quote uses imagery to paint the picture of how far the pigs are from their animalistic nature. The animals rebelled against the humans in order to escape their rule as the humans treated them poorly. However, the pigs who took control after the rebellion became the same as the humans and in the end there was no difference between the two. This is ironic because the pigs became just as bad as the humans they sought to overthrow. George Orwell’s book Animal Farm illustrates how absolute power corrupts, just as the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 resulted in the government becoming more oppressive and deadlier than the one it overthrew.
In a dystopian science fiction story called Harrison Bergeron, the author uses satirical and literary devices in order to convey how the government suppresses the citizens in order to preserve the world that they have forged to obtain what they believed to be equality. Under the surface George is able to notice that there is something wrong with the way society works, however the government prevents George from putting the pieces together. The author uses personification, “His thoughts fled in panic…” and a simile, “bandits from a burglar alarm” to exemplify the fact that thinking is a bad idea especially when it threatens the government’s total control over the public.
The author uses dramatic irony by having it obvious how the world the government has created is unjust but the characters in Harrison Bergeron believe that they are living in a perfectly equal world. By using handicaps the government is able to prevent the general population from challenging the laws of equality. George is unable to think in peace as he might come to believe that the laws that the government has created are absurd. By handicapping George they prevent him from forming his own opinion which might cause him to challenge the government’s authority. In Harrison Bergeron the author uses exaggeration to show how the government made Harrison Bergeron out to be a criminal when in reality he was simply breaking the mold that the government had created in order to remain in power. Harrison wanted to show the general population that the world that they had designed in order to achieve equality was preposterous. The government wanted to establish fear among the citizens to prevent them from realizing the amount of power the government held over them and how ludicrous their ways of equality truly were. In “Harrison Bergeron,” Vonnegut reveals how the citizens have internalized the government’s goals, and those who do not agree with the government fear that they will be punished severely if they display any remarkable abilities. When Harrison Bergeron is murdered at the end of the story, only goes to prove that the Government officials are willing to exterminate the extremely gifted with no fear of reprisal in order to preserve the equal world that they have created at the expense of an individual’s freedom and achievements.
The song “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who demonstrates how revolutions are pointless when absolute power is gained because the leaders are destined to become corrupt when given unlimited power. Once again the author uses irony to reveal that what you see in the street may have different slogans and names that stand behind them, but bottom-line still remains the same. The song also states that the left is indistinguishable from the right which is the opposite of the initial intention.
As shown previously in the song, irony is used to exemplify how the leaders put in place due to the revolution are the same as those who they overthrew. Through the use of irony the song “Won’t Get Fooled Again” expresses how history can often times repeat itself and not in a good way. This song describes a revolution that is planned in hopes of riding a corrupt ruler but in the end they have a ruler that is just as corrupt as the previous ruler.
Those who obtain absolute power ultimately become corrupt. Through the use of different satirical devices such as exaggeration and irony the authors of Animal Farm, Harrison Bergeron, and Won’t Get Fooled Again exhibit that when a person gains absolute power their gains often come at the followers’ expense. Likewise leaders with total power often believe that the rules that govern what is right and what is wrong does not apply to them. It makes you wonder if there will ever be a time when there are no corrupt leaders that are part of this world.