A Fairy Story
By George Orwell
Character Analysis of Napoleon
Napoleon the pig is the most power-hungry and forceful pig on Animal Farm. He was smart enough to lay in the back while all the animals fought hard in the rebellion. Once independent, Napoleon seized control of the farm by chasing off Snowball, a competitor of his in an election. “Napoleon was a large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar, the only Berkshire on the farm, not much of a talker, but with a reputation of getting his own way” (16). Napoleon used his dogs to wreak havoc amongst the farm. Napoleon also had a KGB-type police with his dogs, which he raised to be ferocious. In one instance, “the dogs promptly tore their throats” (84) when pigs turned themselves in for disobeying. Napoleon, like usual, took advantage of this and slew everybody had done the slightest thing wrong. Furthermore, Napoleon altered the original Seven Commandments to suit his desires, despite the fact that they were the original building blocks of Animalism set by Old Major. For example, “No animal can sleep in a bed with sheets” (67) and “No animal shall drink alcohol to excess” (91). Finally, a major alteration was “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” (134). All of these alterations show Napoleon’s greed and hunger for something more in his life, while he lets the animals of the farms starve and work heavily every day. All in all, Napoleon used his intimidating nature and megalomaniac attitude to propel his reign of terror over Animal Farm.
Orwell develops the plot through characterization by explaining the effects of certain elements in a civilization such as Animal Farm. Napoleon is characterized as a power-hungry leader who takes advantage of present opportunities in order to help him thrive. First of all, Napoleon takes some puppies and keeps them apart from the other animals in order to raise his own protective police force. “Napoleon…spent all of his days in the farmhouse, which was guarded at each door by fierce- looking dogs. When he did emerge, it was in a ceremonial manner, with an escort of six dogs that surrounded him and growled if anyone came too near” (75). This represents how a strong and intimidating “police” could affect the citizens of the civilization. In addition, Napoleon also got Squealer to somewhat alter the Seven Commandments set by Old Major. For example, the sheep used to say “Four legs good, two legs bad” (34), but since Squealer and the rest of the pigs learned how to walk efficiently on their hind legs, the pigs taught the sheep to say, “Four legs good, two legs better” (134). Even if once forbidden, little changes made by the “government” helped Napoleon get what he desired. Overall, the effect of an extremely strong governmental power of a civilization causes a situation in which there are no threats at all for the ruler, and the ruler lives luxuriously.
Poor leadership and corruption, the theme of Animal Farm, helps the plot develop because the leader tends to make most of the important decisions, where in this case, show an abuse of power. Even when the Animalist government was not created, Mr. Jones, the original farmer, made questionable decisions. For instance, Mr. Jones “had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the pop-holes. With the ring of light from his lantern dancing from side to side, he lurched across the yard, kicked off his boots at the back door, drew himself a last glass of beer from the barrel in the scullery, and made his way up to bed, where Mrs. Jones was already snoring” (1). This shows that Mr. Jones had some drinking problems, revealing he may not be the right fit for the job he had. To add on, the pigs abused their superior knowledge of the other animals. This happened when “The pigs did not actually work, but directed and supervised the others. With their superior knowledge it was natural that they should assume the leadership” (27). This conveys that the pigs, such as Napoleon, would do nothing at all and then step into the most powerful role there was. All in all, due to poor leadership and corruption, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” (134).
Animal Farm is Published
Friday, Aug. 17th 1945 at 12am
Animal Farm by George Orwell is a wise, illuminating, and fast paced tale that captures the way of life of the Russian Revolution in the form of an allegory. Frustrated with their way of life, a group of animals on Manor Farm organize a rebellion, in which they would overthrow their leader and form a way of government called Animalism. This way included Seven Commandments, one of which was “All animals are equal” (21). The Rebellion was won and the pigs stood up to take their place due to their knowledge. From there, things start going downhill. Anyone who is interested in Roman-a-clef, which is French for a novel about real life, overlaid with a facade of fiction. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a quick, yet meaningful read. Animal Farm by George Orwell had to become a classic for a reason.