What role do pigs take in the book "Animal Farm?"  Why are they so important?

Expert Answers
ophelious eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the book "Animal Farm," the pigs take a very important role: they essentially run the farm.  The rationale for this is that the pigs are nominally smarter than the other animals, or at least more clever. Their only real competition is the goat, and he doesn't really seem to care much about what happens one way or the other (at least until Boxer is being shipped off.)

The big advantage that the pigs have is that they can read better than the other animals, which gives them the ability to learn new things.  They also can take a paint brush in their little trotters and write words, which allows them to make rules and form calculations.

The pigs in the story are the ones who do the plotting and the other animals do the working.  Gradually, the pigs exert more and more influence until they are in total control.  There are only a few pigs who seem to act for the common good of the farm, those being Old Major, Snowball, and a scattering of other unnamed pigs who end up as dog-food.

They are very important to the book for a lot of reasons.  For one, without them the story would be very different.  Secondly, it was Old Major who convinced the others of the necessity for revolution.  Third, it was the organization of the pigs that got the animals working in tandem and insured they didn't starve that first winter.  Lastly, it was the strategy of the pigs that allowed them to defeat the humans when they attempted to retake the farm.