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What are some of Snowball's and Napoleon's character traits in Animal Farm?

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iluvtwilight13 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 19, 2010 at 7:49 PM via web

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What are some of Snowball's and Napoleon's character traits in Animal Farm?

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hilahmarca | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted July 17, 2011 at 2:57 PM (Answer #1)

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Napoleon is the example of the more dictatorial leader.  He is more greedy for power and corrupt. He doesn't show much interest in the welfare of the animals.  He is quiet yet intimidating.  He uses his dogs to keep the animals in line and, therefore, leads by fear.  He is not interested in any of Snowball's committees nor any other ideas that are committed to improving the welfare of the animals.

Snowball is not completely free of corruption but does seem to provide a better alternative to Napoleon's dishonest ways.  For the most part, Snowball follows the tenets Old Major initially laid out for Animalism.  He attempts to improve the animals' lives with his idea of the windmill.  He also set up committees to help include the lesser animals in the community.  Though he seems like the ideal leader for Animal Farm, Orwell's message that Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely hints that regardless of who the leader of Animal Farm would be, the revolution was doomed to fail from the beginning.

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 19, 2010 at 8:47 PM (Answer #1)

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Snowball is a careful and deliberate thinker and possesses a sharp intellect and talent for planning and design, the characteristics that Napoleon later takes advantage of.  He is open to new ideas and not easily manipulated, again things that Napoleon cannot accept and reasons why he later drives him from the farm.  His expertise is later seen as a threat by Napoleon who will continue to use him as a scapegoat after he drives him off the farm.

Napoleon on the other hand is boorish and manipulative.  He schemes in a way that the other animals really aren't ready for or necessarily capable of.  His plan to raise the dogs from a young age to obey him and to propagate the various propaganda measures is a particularly astute thing if you are trying to build your power base and create an authoratarian regime.

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 20, 2010 at 5:39 AM (Answer #2)

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Napoleon is sneaky. He helps redirect the animals' attention. This will be a consistent theme throughout the book so it is good to look at here. At one point, the milk and apples go missing. Napoleon said, "Nevermind the milk... that will be attended to."

I would also point out that Napoleon is cowardly. He did not put himself out there as any kind of major player in the Battle of Cowshed.

Napoleon also bides his time. Snowball was creating plans, and Napoleon is often referred to as quietly asserting that Snowball's plans wouldn't work. That also makes him someone who will betray.

Snowball has great ideas, he wants to unify and educate the animals. Snowball acts with great bravery and courage going into the Battle of Cowshed with great strategy and self-sacrifice.

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zoeyy | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted May 24, 2011 at 10:29 PM (Answer #2)

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Napoleon is more of a demanding, overpowering pig who always gets what he wants. He gets influenced easily and always puts himself first. He believes that he is Animal Farm's destined leader and praises himself for all the things that he has done for the animals.

Snowball, however, believes in the happiness of his citizens. He would always put the farm first and try to achieve everyone's needs. For example, before he was chased out, he drew diagrams of the windmill that would help the animals so they would work less. If Snowball was never chased out, the farm would be a better state than it is at the end of the book.

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