Two major characters are conspicuously absent during the battle of the cowshed. Who are they? What does their absence reveal about their character?

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luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Napoleon and Mollie were absent during the Battle of the Cowshed.  This tells us that they are cowards.  Mollie represents the upper class who might say they are sympathetic toward a cause, a revolution in this case, but they don't want to actually "dirty" themselves with the work involved in bringing about the change. They rather enjoyed the old regime because they were among the privileged few and they aren't truly happy to see change happen.  Mollie was pampered by Farmer Jones and the new government of Animal Farm will require her to work for her share.  She doesn't want that. She runs and hides her head in her stall during the battle.  Napoleon's absence was more sinister.  Napoleon is the typical tyrant.  He makes a lot of noise and claims bravery but in the actual heat of battle, he's safely behind the lines because he's a coward.  He is representative of all such despots.  He later claims that Snowball hadn't fought bravely during the Battle of the Cowshed, but had actually been in league with the humans and that he, Napoleon, had been the one to fight and thwart the humans. He turned facts around and lied to make himself look good and look brave.  He is nothing more than a schoolyard bully in reality, as are most tyrants and despots.