Animal Farm



Based on Joseph Stalin, Napoleon is one of the two pigs that vie for leadership of Animal Farm after the death of Old Major. He is a Berkshire boar, which means that he is larger than the other pigs on the farm. Berkshire boars are also an intimidating-looking species. Napoleon does not speak a lot of the time, which leads some of the animals to perceive him as a deep thinker, though his behavior belies that characterization. When he does speak, he is persuasive, but he prefers to use others to speak on his behalf, most notably Squealer.

While the animals may view Napoleon’s quietness as a sign of depth, it is actually a sign of his plotting. Napoleon is incredibly secretive, and plots against some of the animals. He withholds information because that information gives him power, and he relies upon the fact that the other animals will forget some of his actions. For example, he takes the puppies to educate them, and the other animals literally forget about the puppies, which Napoleon has been training as attack dogs. He also uses small-group settings to persuade animals to adopt his point of view. For example, he is able to create significant opposition to Snowball’s windmill idea before Snowball can even present it to the animals and without Snowball realizing that Napoleon has been trying to create opposition to his ideas. These behaviors help illuminate that Napoleon is very jealous of anyone else exercising power or authority on Animal Farm and uses his position of power to remove potential threats. It would be fair to characterize Napoleon’s approach to the other animals at Animal Farm as brainwashing, which was one of the terms used to describe dictator regimes in the period surrounding World War II, whether those regimes were Communist or fascist.

It is not clear in the book when Napoleon decides to use the Rebellion to enhance his personal position on the farm. Early in the book, Napoleon, along with Snowball and the other pigs, develops the philosophy of Animalism. At that point in time, it appears that Napoleon intends to benefit all...

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Essays About Animal Farm