What leadership potential elements exist with the different animals in Animal Farm?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

On the Jones farm, among the animals who rebel against his cruelty there are animals who display admirable leadership qualities:

Old Major  

A "majestic-looking pig with a wise and benevolent appearance" Old Major envisions a better life for the farm animals.  He calls them together and initiates the rebellion against the despotic Jones, who often neglects their care and feeding. He convinces the animals that if they remove Man from their environment, the cause of their hunger and overwork will be abolished forever.

Although he is too idealistic and creates some propaganda with his song "Beasts of England," the old boar has the interests of the animals at heart, encouraging them to gain control of their own lives, for "Man serves the interests of no creature except himself."


Snowball is the best leader of all the animals because he is able to make the transition between the ideal to the reality.  With the ideals set forth by Old Major, Snowball, "who is quicker in speech and more inventive" than Napoleon, arranges in a systematic form Old Major's ideas with the formation of the Seven Commandments. Further, he displays leadership as he forms committees which make their efforts more efficient, and he appeals to the animals' loftier qualities, such as honor:

"Now, comrades...to the hayfield!  Let us make it a point of honour to get in the harvest more quickly than Jones and his men could do."

Later, Snowball conceives of the construction of a windmill which will create energy with electricity and help to reduce the labor of the animals. And, he draws up the design, working out the practical details of this endeavor. Then, when Jones and the other farmers seek to regain the farm from the animals, Snowball, who has studied an old book about the campaigns of Julius Caesar, leads the animals in their defense in what comes to be known as the Battle of the Cowshed. Certainly, Napoleon recognizes the stellar leadership of Snowball as out of jealousy runs Snowball off the farm, usurping control of the animals.


Boxer,"the admiration of everybody," is the hardest worker on the farm and absolutely loyal to their cause.  While essentially a follower who believes that by working harder he can help effect a better life for the others, Boxer does lead by example, inspiring others to make greater efforts than they would normally.  It is Boxer who brings the possibly of a windmill to a reality--at least until Napoleon destroys it.