How is Napoleon in Animal Farm viewed as a powerful character?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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When Boxer says, "Comrade Napoleon is always right" and "I will work harder," he might not mean it, but he is clearly stating a sentiment regarding the extent of Napoleon's power.  No animal really comments on his power because of the truth that they all gain to understand that Napoleon uses his power as a tool to consolidate his own control and to ensure that there is no dissension on the farm.  To merely speak of it would guarantee the experience no animal wishes to have.  Consider the forced confessions and public executions in chapter seven as an example of this.  Clover witnesses animals being killed by Napoleon and the dogs and can only wonder how far things have strayed from Animalism and questions whether or not this is what reality should be.  Yet, she does not speak to this.  In fact, no animals speak of anything that is contrary to Napoleon's wishes.  Snowball did.  He was chased off by the dogs, never to be seen or heard from again.  In this, Napoleon is viewed as a powerful leader, one that the animals learn quickly not to cross or anger.  As the novel progresses, he is shown to be a leader that is brutally swift and decisive in what he feels he must do.  The animals understand this and never speak it, but fully grasp and comprehend its implications.


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