Compare and contrast Old Major and Napoleon in Animal Farm.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that one of the primary point of comparison between both Old Major and Napoleon is their power to lead the animals.  They are both strong leaders who are able to wrangle the obedience of the animals on the farm.  Both of them essentially inspire or compel the animals to embrace what could be as opposed to what is.  One of the primary differences between them resides in the difference between establishing or initiating a revolution and maintaining it.  Old Major was able to capture the essence of inspiring change, and there is a nostalgic romanticism that goes along with that.  Napoleon is much more pragmatic.  Whereas Old Major spoke of empowering the animals, Napoleon seeks to control them.  Old Major speaks of liberating notions on the farm while Napoleon speaks of a vision where his authority lies at the center.  Napoleon is more concerned with ensuring Animalism benefits his control and his apparatus of power, something with which Old Major never had to contend as he died before he had to.