George Orwell’s Animal Farm is written in the fairy tale style of one of Aesop’s fables where it uses animals of an English farm to tell the history of Soviet communism. Napoleon’s character is based directly on the communist party leader Joseph Stalin
Orwell’s physical description of Napoleon is a ‘large, rather fierce looking Berkshire Boar’ and his character is said to be not much of a talker, but had a reputation of getting his own way. From the way that this pig is portrayed in these lines means he is going to be a strong ruler because
When Old Major dies a few nights after his famous Rebellion speech, Napoleon and Snowball, both boars, combine together and formulate his main principles into a philosophy called Animalism. A few nights later when they have defeated Mr Jones in battle and changed the farm name to Animal Farm they work together in running the farm. Snowball teaches the animals to read, whilst Napoleon educates a young group of puppies. It is here where Napoleon first begins to work on the beginning of the Rebellion when he tells Mollie and Bluebell that education was more important to the young than the old as he was preparing for the next generation. However what he was really doing was preparing for the uprising against Snowball, to take charge of the farm, when the dogs would play a pivotal role acting as body guards to him.
Orwell contrasts Napoleon and Snowball in a way that forces them to have contradictory ideas. Snowball wants pure communism where everyone benefits equally, whereas on the other hand Napoleon prefers power. Snowball invents all of the ideas and arranging the animals into committees to help the farm in the best way possible. An example of this was the idea of building a windmill which would make ‘jobs around the farm a lot easier, as well as warming the animal’s stalls in the winter’, with the introduction of electricity. Throughout the committee meetings Napoleon was constantly disagreeing with anything Snowball said or did, even ‘urinating over the plans’.
When Napoleon seizes power from Napoleon his character is shown by Orwell as jealous and cowardly. He realises that the animals are beginning to side with Snowball over the decision of the windmill so he has to act fast find a way to change this. He does this by arranging for Snowball to be chased away by ‘nine enormous dogs’, the ones which he had separated from Mollie at birth. This is also an act of a coward because Napoleon is too scared to pursue him as he is worried that the animals will protest and not follow him as a leader. By doing what he did it allowed him to rise above the other animals saying “Mess with me and the same treatment will happen to you.”
Once Napoleon has seized power over the farm he really begins to strive as no other animal dares to stand up to him after what they witnessed with Snowball. This is where Napoleon begins to become a dictator by making numerous ‘announcements’ at the meetings making the farm run in the way he wants it. He does this by squashing any plans that Snowball had originally proposed and then he tells a bunch of lies to the animals about how Snowball was ‘secretly’ against them and was really working for Mr Jones in the rebellions. With Snowball gone, Napoleon is the big man on campus. He doesn’t need to talk, because he has the aptly named Squealer do his speaking for him. He doesn’t need to worry about protests, because he gets rid of public meetings. He doesn’t need to worry about sharing power, because he names himself head of every committee.
Towards the end of the story Napoleon agrees into talks with the other farmers on neighbouring farms. This is where things begin to go wrong for napoleon as he begins to get follow their actions by dressing, walking and drinking like human beings. The other animals dislike the behaviour of the pigs but by now the animals are hooked and are now drunk on the alcohol.
In conclusion George Orwell presents the character of Napoleon to us as a secretive liar and bully caring only about power. He goes back on a number of the farm commandments and alters them for the sake of himself, rather than the wealth fare of the animals.
Courtney from Study Moose
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