In George Orwell's Animal Farm, what are some important quotations from Napoleon the pig?
George Orwell's 1945 novel Animal Farm is a satire on the process of revolution against government, and the nature of history to repeat itself.
Napoleon the pig is the charismatic leader of the revolution. He uses rhetoric and promises of easier living to sway the farm population to his views. During the novel, he changes from a revolutionary leader to a governmental dictator, showing how revolution often leads right back to the situations it opposed. Since Napoleon often speaks through his more eloquent surrogate, Squealer, his personal quotes are few in the book, and he is often referred to as having spoken rather than having his words quoted. For example:
Napoleon took no interest in Snowball's committees. He said that the education of the young was more important than anything that could be done for those who were already grown up. It happened that Jessie and Bluebell had both whelped soon after the hay harvest, giving birth between them to nine sturdy puppies. As soon as they were weaned, Napoleon took them away from their mothers, saying that he would make himself responsible for their education.
Napoleon here understands that it is far easier to indoctrinate children than to convince adults. By removing the puppies from their mothers, he is able to mold their education and worldview without parental involvement or intrusion.
...Napoleon was better at canvassing support for himself in between times. He was especially successful with the sheep. Of late the sheep had taken to bleating "Four legs good, two legs bad" both in and out of season, and they often interrupted the Meeting with this. It was noticed that they were especially liable to break into "Four legs good, two legs bad" at crucial moments in Snowball's speeches.
Here, the importance of swaying public opinion is shown; rather than make substantive arguments, Napoleon produces meaningless slogans that can be chanted in opposition to Snowball. By removing the burden of factual and issue-based debate, Napoleon is able to influence the animals as a mob instead of as a constituency.
Napoleon, with the dogs following him, now mounted on to the raised portion of the floor where Major had previously stood to deliver his speech. He announced that from now on the Sunday-morning Meetings would come to an end. They were unnecessary, he said, and wasted time. In future all questions relating to the working of the farm would be settled by a special committee of pigs, presided over by himself. These would meet in private and afterwards communicate their decisions to the others. The animals would still assemble on Sunday mornings to salute the flag, sing 'Beasts of England', and receive their orders for the week; but there would be no more debates.
(All Quotes: Orwell, Animal Farm, george-orwell.org)
Finally, Napoleon uses military force to create a dictatorship. Since he cannot debate Snowball with facts, he exiles him (intending first to have his dogs kill him) and declares that decision-making is out of the hands of "the people." Despite the original goal of the Animal Farm for all animals to be equal, now Napoleon has taken the role of Farmer, quietly leaving the other animals to take the role of Slave without ever saying it. Napoleon has military might and the ear of the mob, and so has no more need to fake an interest in democratic government.