Animal Farm Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

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How does Napoleon gain power over Animal Farm, and how does he maintain it?

Napoleon uses propaganda to persuade the other animals against questioning his authority and twists information to convince the animals of lies instead of the truth, for instance in getting everyone to turn on Snowball and believe the windmill had always been Napoleon's idea. Eventually we also see Napoleon keep his power by instilling fear by threat of his vicious dogs. 

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Napoleon gains power over Animal Farm first and foremost by careful planning. As early as chapter 3, when the other animals are busying themselves with the harvest and Snowball is organizing committees, Napoleon quietly appropriates Jessie and Bluebell's nine puppies and takes them to a loft where he keeps them in seclusion until they are grown. It may be that if Napoleon's campaign "Vote for Napoleon and the full manger" had been successful, he would not have used the dogs against Snowball in chapter 5. Probably he would have found occasion to call on them sooner or later in any case. The point is that he had a back-up plan in case Snowball won the popular vote and that this plan was conceived a long time in advance.

Once Napoleon has gained power through planning and the use of force, he uses more force and propaganda to maintain it. The dogs are always there, ready to treat any dissidents in the same way as Snowball. The pattern is set immediately after Snowball's expulsion. When four of the pigs spring to their feet to protest against Napoleon's new regime, the dogs growl and the pigs promptly sit down. Then the sheep begin a chorus of "Four legs good, two legs bad," which silences any further discussion. And, soon afterwards, Squealer is sent round to feed the party line to all the animals on the farm. This combination of latent force and propaganda is repeated throughout the remainder of the book.

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Napoleon and the pigs initially begin to manipulate the tenets of Animalism in their favor. As a pig, Napoleon enjoys special privileges and is viewed as a leading authority figure throughout the farm. In chapter 5, Napoleon usurps power by releasing his nine ferocious dogs after Snowball and convincing the other animals that Snowball is a traitor. Napoleon then begins to spread false propaganda through his public speaker named Squealer. Squealer distorts the tenets of Animalism to coincide with Napoleon's actions and continually warns the animals about Jones's return. Napoleon's tyrannical reign continues as he begins to engage in trade with humans, uses Snowball as a scapegoat, abolishes the song "Beasts of England," and publicly executes dissidents. Napoleon ruthlessly forces various animals to falsely...

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