How does Napoleon's character evolve in Animal Farm?

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Life is not much different under Napoleon.

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Napoleon is a dynamic character in George Orwell’s allegorical novel Animal Farm. In the first chapter of Animal Farm, Napoleon is just one of several pigs who listen to Old Major outline the philosophy of Animalism and introduce the song “Beasts of England.” After Old Major’s death, however, Napoleon quickly rises through the ranks and becomes an important ruler on the farm. Napoleon is introduced as

a large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar . . . not much of a talker but with a reputation for getting his own way.

The first description of Napoleon in the second chapter foreshadows his future brutish nature and penchant for totalitarian rule.

Despite early hints of future despotism, Napoleon doesn’t immediately change into a brutal dictator after Old Major’s death. Instead, Napoleon works alongside the other pigs to promulgate the precepts of Animalism. He is responsible for distributing rations and quickly begins gathering power at the expense of the other animals. For example, Napoleon begins hoarding milk and giving it only to the “brainworkers,” or the pigs.

Napoleon focuses his efforts on the “education” of Bluebell and Jessie’s puppies. It seems that in the early days of the revolution, Napoleon is biding his time and waiting for an opportunity to consolidate his power. By secretly educating the puppies into cruel enforcers, Napoleon betrays several of the core precepts of Animalism very early in the plot.

The vindictive personality of Napoleon becomes increasingly apparent during the conflict with Snowball over the building of the windmill. Napoleon opposes the windmill construction and, when it becomes clear that most of the animals will follow Snowball, Napoleon,

arrived unexpectedly to examine the plans and snuffed at them once or twice, then stood for a little while contemplating them out of the corner of his eye; then suddenly he lifted his leg, urinated over the plans and walked out without saying a word.

This behavior shows that Napoleon was focused not on the success of the farm, but his power and popularity.

Napoleon’s totalitarian tendencies become fully exposed after Snowball is driven off the farm, and he is granted the status as the undisputed leader of the farm. Quickly, the animals are worked harder, rations are cut, and the pigs gain even more privileges than before. Napoleon changes the precepts of Animalism and deceives his subjects with propaganda. Perhaps the most memorable act of Napoleon’s cruelty is the sale of the loyal Boxer to the gluemaker.

By the end of the novel, Napoleon has become so like Mr. Jones and the humans that the animals on the farm thought “it was impossible to say which was which.” Napoleon’s character highlights the corrupting influence of power and allegorically serves as George Orwell’s critique of Joseph Stalin.

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At the beginning of the novella, Napoleon supports the animals' cause against Mr. Jones and plays a crucial role in establishing Animal Farm after Mr. Jones and his men are expelled. Napoleon helps organize their first harvest without human interaction and also propagates Animalism by painting the Seven Commandments on the wall of the barn. Shortly after the animals take over the farm, Napoleon secretly educates nine puppies, which grow into ferocious personal bodyguards. During a public debate, Napoleon usurps power by driving Snowball from the farm.

As leader of Animal Farm, Napoleon becomes increasingly tyrannical, requiring the animals to work longer, more arduous hours while simultaneously receiving fewer rations of food. Napoleon also publicly executes political dissidents, develops a cult of personality, and proceeds to break every commandment. By the end of the novella, Napoleon not only behaves like corrupt humans but also physically resembles them by wearing clothes and walking on his hind legs. Overall, Napoleon goes from being a supporter of animal independence from human tyranny to a ruthless dictator who works the other animals to death for his selfish purposes.

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Napoleon, based on Joseph Stalin, has a desire for power from early on, but grows more corrupt and less like an animal as he becomes more powerful. At first, this "rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar" is considered to have "depth of character," though what kind of character is not specified. At first too, Napoleon treats the other animals generously, giving them double food rations after they run Mr. Jones off the farm. Later, he surrounds himself with fierce dogs and cuts the other animal's rations in half if they don't work extra hours. Despite the commandment that decrees that all animals are equal, he sets himself above the others.

Increasingly, Napoleon breaks the animal code, ultimately breaking all seven of the Seven Commandments. He moves into a house and sleeps in a bed. He institutes a reign of terror, killing animals who oppose him By the end of the novel, he is walking on two legs, wearing human clothing and drinking alcohol. In fact, he can't be distinguished from a human. 

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In Animal Farm, how do the animal's lives change from Jones to Napoleon?

Jones and Napoleon both strive to rule over the farm, Jones because he is a farmer, and Napoleon because be strives to become human. While Jones is a normal farmer, not treating his animals with any sort of excess cruelty, he does neglect them at times, which starts the chain reaction of the revolution. Napoleon, meanwhile, pretends to treat the animals better than Jones, but in reality exploits the animals even more than Jones did. Jones is not overtly evil in his treatment of the animals; they are fed and housed, and used for their milk, meat, and labor. Napoleon, however, lies about his intentions, uses the dogs as a personal army, and kills animals senselessly when he imagines a threat, all the while espousing ideals of equality.

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In Animal Farm, how is life under farmer Jones like life under Napoleon?

Life is under Napoleon starts off with great promise, but in the end, it is not much different. One horrible leader has replaced another. If we compare two scenes, we can clearly see that nothing has changed. 

In the beginning, Old Major gives a cogent speech of the evils of humans and Mr. Jones. Men take and never produce. The fate of the animals is death. The woes continue. Here is a quote:

‘And even the miserable lives we lead are not allowed to reach their natural span. For myself I do not grumble, for I am one of the lucky ones. I am twelve years old and have had over four hundred children. Such is the natural life of a pig. But no animal escapes the cruel knife in the end. You young porkers who are sitting in front of me, every one of you will scream your lives out at the block within a year. To that horror we all must come — cows, pigs, hens, sheep, everyone. Even the horses and the dogs have no better fate. You, Boxer, the very day that those great muscles of yours lose their power, Jones will sell you to the knacker, who will cut your throat and boil you down for the foxhounds. As for the dogs, when they grow old and toothless, Jones ties a brick round their necks and drowns them in the nearest pond.

When Napoleon gains power, he uses the animals as much as Mr. Jones. In fact, everything that Old Major said in his speech about Mr. Jones, Napoleon has employed perfectly. It is as if Old Major was writing a blueprint for Napoleon. As an example, when Boxer wore out his muscles and served the rebellion and Animal Farm, he was discarded. Boxer is sold to the Knackers to be turned into glue! Here is what the animals saw:

‘Alfred Simmonds, Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler, Willingdon. Dealer in Hides and Bone-Meal. Kennels Supplied.’ Do you not understand what that means? They are taking Boxer to the knacker’s!’ A cry of horror burst from all the animals. 

The irony of this, of course, is that the animals continue to labor for Napoleon. 

The strongest argument that nothing has changed is that the pigs turn into humans. They are Mr. Jones. 

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How does Napoleon change throughout the novel Animal Farm?

Napoleon gradually becomes more and more cruel and despotic as Animal Farm unfolds. At first, when the Revolution occurs, Napoleon works cooperatively with the other pigs to establish a new regime based on the dreams of Old Major. For example, he and Snowball collaboratively lead the other animals to the Jones's farmhouse and force open the door. He is as awed as the others at the luxury of the home.

Gradually, however, Napoleon begins to oppose Snowball and put his own desire for power over the best interests of the other animals. Power becomes Napoleon's sole goal, and he becomes ever more ruthless in his pursuit of it, driving Snowball away and training dogs as a personal police force. He executes those who dare to oppose his tyranny.

Gradually, Napoleon's personality degenerates and becomes more and more corrupt, greedy, and self-serving from his absolute power. By the end of the novel, he has betrayed all of the ideals of Animal Farm and, walking on two legs and wearing clothes, becomes indistinguishable from the human masters.

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How does Napoleon change over the course of Animal Farm?

The 1945 novella Animal Farm by George Orwell is an allegorical fable about power and corruption, as based on then-recent history of the Soviet Union.

The narrator introduces Napoleon in chapter 2 after old Major has shared his dream and has then passed away. After Major’s death, the animals plan the Rebellion and look to the pigs for leadership due to their status as among the smarter animals. Two leaders emerge:

Pre-eminent among the pigs were two young boars named Snowball and Napoleon, whom Mr. Jones was breeding up for sale. 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.

With this description, the narration introduces the novel’s main conflict: the power struggle between Snowball and Napoleon (which Orwell based on the power struggle between Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin).

With additional input from a pig named Squealer, Snowball and Napoleon create the philosophy of Animalism, later distilled into the Seven Commandments. Immediately after the Rebellion, Napoleon shows goodwill to the other animals through an act of generosity:

Napoleon then led them back to the store-shed and served out a double ration of corn to everybody, with two biscuits for each dog.

At first, both Snowball and Napoleon assume the leadership role with Snowball at the forefront. Snowball shows himself to be a quick thinker and responsive to problems, such as creating the new farm sign and milking the cows. Napoleon seems to support Snowball but begins to subtly contradict his rival. When the animals begin to discuss what should be done with the extra milk, Napoleon interrupts with a distraction:

“Never mind the milk, comrades!” cried Napoleon, placing himself in front of the buckets. “That will be attended to. The harvest is more important. Comrade Snowball will lead the way. I shall follow in a few minutes. Forward, comrades! The hay is waiting.”

But when the animals return after working the harvest, the buckets of milk are gone, their eventual use for the pigs only later revealed.

This speech and subsequent action reveal Napoleon’s real character that will develop for the rest of the novel: a calculating tactician who lies, manipulates, and issues insincere appeals to patriotism through propaganda, often employing Squealer as his mouthpiece. His tactics are aimed first at undermining Snowball’s leadership and then the animals’ belief in themselves.

In contrast to Snowball, Napoleon is not interested in community organizing and transparency. Instead he uses secrecy to manipulate the animals, such as hiding the new puppies away from the others and forging relationships behind the scenes.

Napoleon’s manipulations, reversals of policy, contradictions, and outright lies regarding the windmill, Snowball’s character, and the history of the Rebellion bewilder and exhaust the animals, causing them to doubt their perceptions and experiences. If any animal falls out of line, Napoleon threatens them with dogs—the now grown puppies he had trained into becoming his personal guard who then drive Snowball out.

After Napoleon has established sole rulership, he reveals through Squealer what his real agenda is:

“Bravery is not enough,” said Squealer. “Loyalty and obedience are more important.”

In contradiction to his previous generosity regarding rations, Napoleon tells the animals that while work on Sundays is voluntary, animals who do not report for work would receive reduced rations. Now designated as the “Leader” and increasingly detached from communicating with the other animals, Napoleon sends out Squealer to justify his recent move into the farmhouse:

Again the animals seemed to remember that a resolution against this had been passed in the early days, and again Squealer was able to convince them that this was not the case.

After establishing his total control over the animals and working them into exhaustion, Napoleon parades in front of them by walking on his hind legs while accompanied by the vicious dogs. And worst of all:

He carried a whip in his trotter.

At the novel’s end, as the overworked and tired animals look into the windows of the farmhouse where Napoleon and the pigs play cards with their former enemies, they cannot distinguish between pig and man.

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