Animal Farm Questions and Answers
by George Orwell

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How is Napoleon in Animal Farm viewed as a powerful character?

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Marietta Sadler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Napoleon is powerful in different ways. Perhaps most importantly, he is powerful because he controls the dogs, who intimidate and suppress the other animals. Napoleon deliberately takes the dogs from their mother when they are puppies and then raises them to become a vicious, loyal fighting unit. They are the equivalent of Hitler’s Brownshirts or Stalin’s NKVD. Napoleon uses the dogs to chase his only rival, Snowball, from the farm. He also uses the dogs to silence any dissenting voices. For example, when four piglets voice their disapproval in Chapter 5, “the dogs sitting around Napoleon let out deep, menacing growls, and the [piglets fall] silent and [sit] down again.”

Napoleon is also powerful because he creates a sort of cult of personality around himself. For example, he replaces the Beasts of England song with a song all about himself. In this new song, Napoleon is lauded as “the sun in the sky” and the “giver of / All that thy creatures love.” In other words,...

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