Napoleon, who is an allegorical character for Josef Stalin, manages to raise nine puppies who grow into his secret police that he uses to run off the innovative and charismatic Snowball so that he can rule by dictatorship. Before he comes into power the Major drew up the Seven Commandments for the animals:
THE SEVEN COMMANDMENTS OF ANIMALISM
1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
7. All animals are equal.
Here are some violations of the principles of Animalism:
- In Chapter 3, when the animals work, the pigs supervise, which is a violation of Rule 7. As the narrative progresses, the pigs take on more human traits until they move into the farmhouse of Mr. Jones.
- In Chapter 5, Napoleon has Snowball ousted as his vicious dogs give chase, and he takes control of the other animals. The running off of Snowball is a violation of Rule 2.
- In Chapter 6, the pigs move into the Jones's farm house and begin to sleep in beds, which is a violation of Rule 4.
...some of the animals were disturbed when they heard that the pigs not only took their meals in the kitchen and used the drawing-room as a recreation room, but also slept in beds.
- In Chapter 7 Napoleon makes a contract with Mr. Whymper for 400 eggs a week. This is a violation of Rule 1 because he has been dealing with the enemy, a man.
- In Chapter 7, when the hens protest that to take away the eggs before the spring setting would be murder, the hens make a concerted effort to thwrat Napoleon's wishes; consequently, Napoleon orders that their rations be greatly reduced and some die of starvation. This is a violation of Rules 2 and 6. After the hens' deaths, Napoleon changes the rule, adding "without cause" to the end.
- In Chapter 8, Napoleon becomes drunk after drinking alcohol, a violation of Rule 5. So, he has this rule altered to "No Animal shall drink alcohol to excess."