How can conflict between Snowball and Napoleon be avoided in Animal Farm?

Conflict between Snowball and Napoleon cannot be avoided, as they are two powerful personalities with fundamentally incompatible political visions.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Snowball and Napoleon both regard themselves as the rightful successor to Old Major. But the farm isn't big enough for the both of them, and due to their enormous egos, there is simply no way that these two powerful personalities can ever be reconciled. Bound by mutual hatred, contempt, and distrust, Snowball and Napoleon are destined to be the very best of enemies.

As well as a huge clash of egos, Snowball and Napoleon are kept apart by different political visions of how the farm should operate. Snowball's vision of Old Major's Animalist ideology involves spreading the revolution far beyond the confines of Animal Farm. He wants the animal revolution, which he (more than any other animal) has helped to bring about, to be the catalyst for a worldwide uprising of the entire animal kingdom against the human oppressors.

Napoleon, on the other hand, believes in Animalism in one farm. Once the revolution has been established, the animals should concentrate on building the new utopia instead of diverting their revolutionary energies toward spreading the revolution far and wide. Naturally, Napoleon sees himself as the pig to make this happen. He regards himself as a monumental genius, strong, benevolent, and wise. He has no time for any possible rivals, and this inevitably means that there's no place for Snowball.

Napoleon felt overshadowed by Snowball's heroic actions during the epic Battle of the Cowshed, during which he, Napoleon, went missing in action. Napoleon is also riled by the fact that Snowball is an intellectual with much bigger and bolder ideas than his own. As a consequence, Napoleon is possessed by an all-consuming jealousy toward his most dangerous rival and is determined to have him driven from the farm, come what may.

The existence of such deep-seated personal and political differences between Snowball and Napoleon ensures that there can never be any kind of reconciliation. Conflict between them is inevitable.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team