Originally, the pigs adapt old Major's tenets and develop the Seven Commandments to prohibit the animals from behaving like corrupt, malevolent humans. The Seven Commandments also champion the values of an egalitarian society ruled by animals, where every animal is considered equal and every human is labeled an enemy. After Napoleon successfully usurps power, he begins to rule the farm like a tyrant and cleverly employs Squealer to subtly change specific commandments in order to correspond to his current political agenda. The subtle changes made to the commandments give the ruling-class pigs more privileges, and the disparity between the lower-class animals and upper-class pigs on the farm increases. The minor changes foreshadow the collapse of the animals' original dream of establishing a democratic, egalitarian society ruled by themselves and hint at the return of an oppressive society ruled by a selfish leader. By the end of the novella, the Seven Commandments have been reduced to one single commandment, which reads,
ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS (Orwell, 42).
This commandment gives the pigs complete authority over the other animals and allows them to enjoy exclusive privileges while simultaneously oppressing the others.
Since the novella is an allegorical tale of the Russian Revolution and the early years of the Soviet Union, Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin and Snowball represents Leon Trotsky. Historically, Trotsky was Stalin's political enemy and fled the Soviet Union after Stalin assumed power. Orwell's decision to make Napoleon jealous of Snowball and threaten his life corresponds to historical records. Also, Napoleon planned to rule as an absolute leader, which is why he initially opposes everything Snowball created.