In Animal Farm, written by George Orwell an important character throughout was Napoleon. Napoleon is a pig who believed he was superior to all the other animals, he began a revolution and turned “his” farms animals into his workers in order to industrialise themselves. Napoleon is a manipulative, selfish character who played a leading role in the rise and fall of Animal Farm. Napoleon was the worst of the worst. A powerful dictator. He wanted to live up to Old Majors standard and how he saw it was if every animal were equal the farm would be better.
So in order for that to happen commandments were set up to keep every animal on an even playing field. “Our leader Comrade Napoleon” was voted in to be in charge of Animal Farm, although only after getting rid of his other competition, Snowball, through use of manipulation. Snowball was all about a better life for the animals and worked hard towards making it a reality, when he comes up with plans to build a windmill, Napoleon urinates all over them and sends his dogs, his loyalest companions, after Snowball. He announces Snowball is gone and no more meetings are to take place.
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Boxer adopts the motto – “Napoleon is always right”, Napoleon then announces the windmill will be built anyway which confuses the animals. Squealer, Napoleons propaganda machine, says that it was Napoleons idea in the first place which Snowball stole. This was Napoleons first major use of manipulation and it shows how important he is in Animal Farm as he is the one who initiated everything and manipulated and confused all the animals, he is also the only one who gets a say on all the issues. Another way Napoleon uses methods to make him look good is simply changing the rules to favour him.
Squealer again is responsible for the wrongdoing. All of the Seven Commandments of Animal Farm are eventually broken before the commandments are “revised” to prove the pigs did nothing wrong. In the eighth chapter, the commandment that strictly forbids animals to kill one another was cunningly changed to “No animal shall kill any other animal without cause” after a series of executions of supposed traitors and probable Snowball followers. Napoleon forced confessions and eliminated these probable traitors under the newly revised rule. The new rule favoured his popularity, respect, and increased his hunger for power.
Another example is commandment number five – “No animal shall drink alcohol” was broken on several occasions. When Napoleon orders whiskey, this is an important sign that all is not well in the Animal Farm. Napoleon favoured the pigs and let them do as they wish, they believed they were superior beings which toiled with the seventh commandment and the ideology behind the beginning of the revolution – “all animals are equal”. The animals deemed “dumb” started to pick up all was not well when Napoleon ordered them to sleep, eat and drink less and work harder.
What we can see here is Napoleons selfishness coming out and his uncaring attitude towards his followers. What Napoleon also did to gain all his trust and power was an insane use of propaganda via Squealer. Squealer persuaded the rest of the animals that Napoleon is always right and wrote and extremely flattering song about him titled “Comrade Napoleon”. Too much propaganda seemed to have a negative effect when animals start confessing to things they haven’t even done and Napoleon kills them.
Another belief of Napoleons was that if he started educating the young the way he wanted the old animals would eventually die off and all that would be left would be loyal Napoleon followers. This is an important idea as we can see that Napoleon is extremely self-centred and puts a great deal of thought behind the entirety of his reign and when Jessie and Bluebell give birth to nine puppies he takes them away at once and begins to put his plan into action “they were puppies… reared, privately”.
Later on they become his guard dogs, those who noticed that Napoleon was using his power to his own advantage and not for the good of the farm were intimidated by his guard dogs and were silenced. In one situation, young pigs protested Napoleon’s leadership. “But suddenly the dogs sitting round Napoleon let out deep, menacing growls, and the pigs fell silent and sat down again. ” Violence worked perfectly to drive away any opponent Napoleon might have had.
Without any opposition, Napoleon is free to do his own bidding. As a result, Napoleon again is drowned with power and pride because the animals must respect him, or they will be turned into corpses. Over the entirety of the novel we can see that Napoleon had complete and utter control over all the animals. The reader never got to see the strength of Animal Farm as a whole but only the strength and the power Napoleon held over the running of it.
Napoleon betrayed his followers all the time and got away with it by telling “Snowball has done this thing…” The importance of this is great as it shows how in theory “all animals are equal” was great but when put into practice not so good, as every type of leadership is imperatively in need of a leader, therefore one is always going to be superior and in this case Napoleon used it to his advantage immensely and ridiculed and tormented his loyal minions. In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, a 19th century German philosopher, “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. By this he means that when one wants power he does all he can to gain it, even if it means a complete personality wipe-out and transformation. The Revolution began as the animals were unhappy with Jones’ treatment of them as he was a “monster” and then by the end of the novel it is now Napoleon who is the “monster”. We see this in Napoleon when he completely trashes his own commandments and kills his followers. Napoleon is an important character in Animal Farm as he was the leader of the Revolution, the beginning and the end of equalism among animals, and the pig who promised a foreseeable, brighter future.