How are the characters in Animal Farm allegories for real-life people?
Most of the named characters in Animal Farm are allegories for real people who lived and died in the Russian Revolution and afterwards. Old Major, the creator of Animalism, represents Karl Marx, the creator of Communism. Napoleon and Snowball represent Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky, who were instrumental in forming the revolution; as in real like, Napoleon drives Snowball from the farm to keep personal power. Squealer and the dogs are the propaganda and military arms of the government, respectively; Squealer spends his time convincing the animals that their hardships are actually good while the dogs kill anyone seen as subversive.
Napoleon was a large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar, the only Berkshire on the farm, not much of a talker, but with a reputation for getting his own way. Snowball was a more vivacious pig than Napoleon, quicker in speech and more inventive, but was not considered to have the same depth of character.
(Orwell, Animal Farm, msxnet.org)
Snowball, like Trotsky, genuinely believed that there could be a system in which each animals works to their ability and each takes according to their need; Napoleon, like Stalin, understood that the system was inherently unworkable and so worked towards amassing personal power instead. In this fashion, the characters of the novel represent the real people of the Russian experiment with Marxism, and show how those experiments ultimately led to a worse situation than the one they rebelled against.
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