In Animal Farm, what does Napoleon tell Boxer that proves Napoleon is ruthless?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is another quote which illustrates Napoleon's ruthlessness and it can be found in Chapter Seven during a conversation about Snowball. Through his representative, Squealer, Napoleon tells Boxer that Snowball has always been an enemy of Animal Farm:

"Snowball was Jones’s agent from the very beginning — yes, and from long before the Rebellion was ever thought of."

This demonstrates Napoleon's ruthlessness because it shows that he has no problem in telling lies to the other animals and misleading them. Moreover, his determination to blacken Snowball's reputation knows no limits, even though Snowball has not been seen for months and, in reality, poses no threat to Napoleon's power.

Boxer's response to Napoleon's ruthlessness is characteristic of his blind loyalty towards this regime, more generally. He accepts Napoleon's command without any hesitation:

"If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right."

This response is significant because it enables Napoleon's ruthlessness to grow since his commands and opinions are never questioned nor challenged. 

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Napoleon tells Boxer that he is sending the hard working horse to a rest home when, in fact, he is has sold Boxer to a glue factory where he will be slaughtered. This is obviously ruthless because Boxer has been such an integral part of Animal Farm and the revolution. Boxer is the hardest worker of the animals, to the point that he works himself to exhaustion. Boxer was excessively loyal to Napoleon and followed him without question. To betray Boxer by sending him to a grim death in a slaughterhouse can only be considered cold-hearted and ruthless. However, this mirrors the way many workers in the Soviet Union were treated during the reign of Josef Stalin and that is the point George Orwell, the author of the book, wants to make.