What is the main idea of the new poem "Comrade Napoleon" in Animal Farm?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The poem “Comrade Napoleon” is designed to focus the animals’ attention on Napoleon as a virtuous, benevolent leader and redirect attention from the revolution.

The pigs really want to drive the point home that the revolution is over.  They do not want the animals to remember how they once overthrew a tyrannical leader, because the pigs are pretty tyrannical too. 

The revolution had its own song, “Beasts of England” which was designed to rally the animals.

Minimus, Napoleon’s propaganda pig, writes a poem celebrating Napoleon.  Napoleon has it inscribed on the wall to remind the animals.

Thou are the giver of

All that thy creatures love,

Full belly twice a day, clean straw to roll upon;

Every beast great or small

Sleeps at peace in his stall,

Thou watchest over all,

Comrade Napoleon! (ch 8)

Notice how the poem uses biblical language to laud Napoleon’s advantages.  It tells the animals that they are better off with Napoleon.  Of course, none of this is true.  Napoleon actually takes advantage of his animals, and lives off their labor.  The last line seems almost threatening, reminding the animals that Napoleon "takes care" of them- and that he is always watching them.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To a great extent, the main significance of the "Comrade Napoleon" poem is to show the cult of personality that exists on the farm under Napoleon's rule.  The poem stresses the "greatness" of  Napoleon.  It is written on the side of the barn where the Seven Commandments appear.  It is done at a time when there is challenge and trouble on the farm.  The need to glorify Napoleon seems to be a response to such challenge.  "Comrade Napoleon" seeks to make greater who Napoleon is and in what he represents to the farm.  In Minimus' poem, one sees the extent to which the revolutionary tenets have been betrayed.  Napoleon is at the center of the farm's being.  The poem makes it clear that there is no other path on the farm than what Napoleon offers.  In identifying himself as the center of being on the farm, the poem makes clear that Animalism and its idea of all animals ruling together and sharing power is not something that is present.  Rather, it is Napoleon who represents all and is all on the farm.  In this light, the poem is significant in displaying how far the farm has strayed from its revolutionary principles under the rule of Napoleon.