Animal Farm Characters
The main characters in Animal Farm are Mr. Jones, Old Major, Snowball, Napoleon, and Squealer.
- Mr. Jones is the original owner of Manor Farm. He represents Tsar Nicholas II.
- Old Major is the prize-winning boar who inspires the animal revolt. He represents Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin.
- Snowball is a pig who helps lead the revolution. Snowball is an effective leader, but Napoleon exiles him. He represents Leon Trotsky.
- Napoleon is a boar who exiles Snowball from Animal Farm. Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin.
- Squealer is an eloquent pig who spreads Napoleon's propaganda. He represents Stalin's chief propagandist, Vyacheslav Molotov.
Last Updated on February 26, 2021, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 2389
In George Orwell's Animal Farm, Napoleon is a boar who takes part in the revolt against Mr. Jones. Afterwards, he co-leads the farm animals with Snowball. Napoleon is aggressive, militaristic, and manipulative. Although he is not great at public speaking, he is able to get his own way. In the novel's allegory of the Russian Revolution, Napoleon represents Soviet politician Joseph Stalin. (Read extended character analysis of Napoleon.)
Snowball is a boar on Manor Farm who helps in the revolt against Mr. Jones and in leading the farm animals afterwards. He is vivacious, quick, and inventive. Although he possesses these qualities, Snowball has less “depth of character” than Napoleon. In the story's allegory of the Russian Revolution, Snowball represents Leon Trotsky, who was in power alongside Joseph Stalin after Vladimir Lenin passed away. Snowball helps to expand on Old Major’s teachings alongside Squealer and Napoleon. (Read extended character analysis of Snowball.)
In Orwell's allegory for the Russian Revolution, Boxer represents the Soviet Union's working class. Boxer is a large working horse. Boxer is not clever, but he is able to make up for this lack with a steady character and strong work ethic. His main mantra is “I will work harder.” He is considered one of the pigs’ most faithful followers. (Read extended character analysis of Boxer.)
In Animal Farm, by George Orwell, Squealer is a "porker," or one of the fatter pigs, living on the farm. He has twinkling eyes, is great at public speaking, and is popular with the other animals. Squealer is said to be very persuasive; he is able to “turn black into white,” with his debate skills. In the story's allegory of the Russian Revolution, Squealer represents Vyacheslav Molotov, who was Joseph Stalin's loyal supporter and a chief figure in the Communist government. (Read extended character analysis of Squealer.)
Old Major is the oldest pig on the farm. He is also the prize pig of Mr. Jones’s and is greatly respected by the other animals at Manor Farm. In the novel's allegory of the Russian Revolution, Old Major likely represents the political economist Karl Marx, whose Communist Manifesto advocated for a revolution from the working class, and Vladimir Lenin, one of the main revolutionary leaders in the communist uprising. (Read extended character analysis of Old Major.)
In addition to the main characters listed above, the following characters also feature in Animal Farm and have important roles in the allegory.
Benjamin the donkey is cynical and bitter. He doesn’t laugh and rarely speaks. However, he is close friends with Boxer. When the animals take over the farm, Benjamin doesn’t change in personality. He is still slow, cynical, and obstinate. Benjamin is also unwilling to give any opinion on the rebellion.
However, Benjamin shows himself to be very intelligent. For example, he can read and write just as well as the other pigs. Yet, he refuses to implement these skills, believing that there is “nothing worth reading.” Ever the cynic, Benjamin refuses to take sides when the animals begin to divide loyalties between Snowball and Napoleon. Benjamin doesn’t see how either of the pigs can make the farm run any better; he only says that “life would go on as it had always gone on—that is, badly.” Benjamin is also the only one who understands that Squealer actively alters the seven commandments when all the animals witness him by the barn wall with paint and a brush. However, Benjamin does nothing with this knowledge.
Benjamin represents the cynical and disillusioned intellectuals of the late 19th, early 20th century. He shows no passion for either side, landing on a position of indifference. His lack of action throughout the novel only adds to the problems on the farm and leads him to lose his close friend, Boxer, to Napoleon’s selfish leadership. When Boxer is taken away to be butchered and sold for glue-making, Benjamin finally shows emotion and takes action, but it is too late. After Boxer’s death, Benjamin spends more time with Clover, but he does not change very much. He only becomes more bitter and still refuses to work to improve things around him.
The horse Clover is described as stout, motherly, and middle-aged. Clover is a faithful follower of the pig’s doctrine. When taught to read and write, Clover memorizes the alphabet but is unable to write and struggles to read words. Clover represents the female working class of the Russian Revolution and is the counterpart to Boxer. Although she later on feels that something is wrong with Animal Farm’s leadership, she lacks any real ability to make meaningful changes. Despite her concerns, she remains ever faithful.
When Napoleon takes over and begins to act more like a human, Clover remembers the rules that were originally made by the pigs. She questions Napoleon’s actions and even checks the commandments with the help of the goat, Muriel. When Clover sees that the commandments support Napoleon’s actions, she still feels uneasy but is convinced by Squealer that all is right.
After the disturbing execution of many farm animals at the hands of Napoleon, Clover reflects upon the original dream of Animal Farm. She realizes the differences between the revolutionary dream and the resulting reality and sees what has gone wrong. Yet Clover is ever faithful, with “no thought of disobedience or rebellion in her mind.” Clover still firmly believes that life for the animals is better without the humans, even under the dictatorship of Napoleon.
Near the end of the story, Clover asks Benjamin to read her the seven commandments. They find the commandments have been changed to just one rule: “some animals are more equal than others.” Clover then observes the pigs interacting with the humans in the farmhouse and finds that she cannot tell the difference between the two.
Jessie and Bluebell
Jessie and Bluebell are two dogs who birth the nine puppies that Napoleon teaches and trains as his personal enforcers.
Minimus is another of the pigs who follows Napoleon. He has a gift for composing songs and poems. He writes a new anthem to replace Beasts of England.
Mollie is a vain and silly mare who lives on Manor Farm. She cares only for sugar and ribbons, and when learning of the tenets of Animalism, she asks if there would still be access to sugar and bows. Mollie is likely representative of the bourgeoisie, or upper middle class, who did not struggle as much in the time of Tsarist leadership in Russia. She shows an unwillingness to participate in fighting against the humans and is mostly preoccupied with her own needs.
Mollie has little desire to work for the farm. She makes excuses to leave early and has difficulty getting up early to work. When taught to read and write, Mollie refuses to learn anything aside from her name, which she likes to write using twigs and flowers.
Mollie is found to be sympathetic to humans and ends up leaving Animal Farm after The Battle of the Cowshed. She is caught by Clover, who sees her being pet by a human. The animals soon discover Mollie’s stash of ribbons and sugar. Mollie disappears and is later reported to enjoy working for a human again. The animals mention Mollie again.
Moses is the tame raven that lives on the farm. He is owned by Mr. Jones and does no work. Yet, he is a good speaker, and weaves tales about a mystical place called “Sugarcandy Mountain” in which all animals will go to once they’ve died. Although Moses is unpopular with the animals, some believe his stories, and the pigs have to work hard to convince the other animals that “Sugarcandy Mountain” does not exist. When the animals revolt, Moses leaves with Mr. Jones's wife.
Moses returns later on and spreads the idea of “Sugarcandy Mountain” to the animals again. This time, however, the pigs do not discourage Moses, although they do not agree with him. Instead, they allow the animals to listen to Moses and hope for a good afterlife. This shows how the leaders of Animal Farm use the concept of “Sugarcandy Mountain”—similar to a religion—to keep the animals content with the hardships of their lives, as they believe there is a better life after death. Since the animals will have their paradise after death, there is no need for retirement on the farm.
Moses represents the influence of religion before and after the Russian Revolution. Although the Soviet Union was officially atheistic, with the advent of the second World War, Joseph Stalin allowed the Orthodox Christian Church to operate more openly in the country in order to support the war efforts.
Mr. Jones is the owner of Manor Farm and represents Tsar Nicholas II, who was driven out of power during the Russian Revolution of 1917. Like the Tsar, Mr. Jones is driven out of Manor Farm when his animals revolt and take over.
Prior to the animals' rebellion, Mr. Jones had been a good farmer, but became disheartened after losing money in a lawsuit. This misfortune can be compared to the loss of money and life that Russia faced after Tsar Nicholas II involved the country in the World War I. Mr. Jones begins to neglect the farm and the animals on it, and he spends his days sitting in the house drinking.
The animal rebellion begins after Mr. Jones forgets to feed his animals for several days. Similarly, one of the core problems with Tsar Nicholas II’s rule was over food shortages. The animals broke into the food storage, and when the men tried to stop them, the animals ran the men and Mr. Jones from the farm.
Mr. Pilkington owns Foxwood Farm, which is adjacent to Manor Farm. Pilkington is easygoing and does not keep his farm well. He also dislikes Mr. Frederick, the owner of Pinchfield Farm, who also lives adjacent to Manor Farm. Despite Pilkington’s acute dislike for Frederick, the two men are both nervous about the animal uprising at Manor Farm and the establishment of Animal Farm.
Pilkington represents the Western leaders of both the United States and the United Kingdom. He is pitted against Frederick, who represents Adolf Hitler, from the start. This reflects the US’s and the UK’s political relationship with Adolf Hitler’s Germany in the years leading up to WWII.
Pilkington keeps in good relations with Napoleon and Animal Farm, but is then betrayed by Napoleon when Napoleon accepts a deal with Frederick. However, when Napoleon realizes Frederick is not a friend to Animal Farm, Napoleon then asks Pilkington for help. Pilkington refuses and leaves Animal Farm to fend for itself against Frederick. This is representative of the US and the UK’s stance towards the Soviet Union in the years following WWI up to WWII.
Mr. Frederick owns Pinchfield Farm near Manor Farm. He keeps his farm running tightly. He is tough and shrewd, and he “[runs] hard bargains” with others. He dislikes Mr. Pilkington, but he agrees that the animals at Manor Farm and the idea of an animal rebellion are frightening. The two men both ridicule or create rumors about Animal Farm to try to quell its popularity.
Frederick represents Adolf Hitler. He and his farm are disliked throughout most of the novel. There are rumors of his cruelty to animals, which reflect Hitler’s cruelty and acts of genocide. Further, Frederick is an enemy to Pilkington, who represents the leaders of the United States and the United Kingdom.
Near the end of the novel, Frederick makes a deal with Napoleon and buys Animal Farm’s timber. When Frederick gives Napoleon fake bank notes, Napoleon declares Frederick an enemy. Soon after, Frederick and his men blow up the animals’ windmill but are chased off when the animals attack.
Mr. Whymper is an intermediary hired by Napoleon to help with exchanges between Animal Farm and the humans. He is described as a sly and smart man. He helps Napoleon bring Animal Farm back into trading and selling with the humans’ other farms. Mr. Whymper represents capitalist opportunists who served as business intermediaries between the Soviet Union and the West. Mr. Whymper negotiates with the other farms and creates an agreement between Pinchfield and Napoleon.
Muriel is the white goat, whom Clover asks to read the seven commandments for her.
The cat is an example of a freeloader in a working society. The cat never shows up for work, meetings, or any of the battles but joins the animals for all the meals. When asked where she has gone, the cat simply gives good excuses and purrs affectionately, convincing the other animals of the validity of her absence.
The dogs were born from Jessie and Bluebell. After being weaned, Napoleon takes the dogs into his care and trains them to his needs. It is observed that the dogs act toward Napoleon as dogs had acted toward Mr. Jones.
Napoleon uses the dogs to get rid of Snowball. After Snowball’s speech about the windmill, Napoleon calls the dogs, who then run Snowball off the farm and very nearly hurt him. The dogs become Napoleon’s military force, which scares and keeps the other farm animals under control.
The sheep are the least intelligent of the animals. They are unable to learn to read or write and cannot remember the seven commandments. The pigs instead teach the sheep, along with the hens and ducks, to memorize the expression “four legs good, two legs bad.” This is a gross oversimplification of the tenets of Animalism.
The sheep reflect the blindness of the masses and their inability to act for themselves. Simultaneously, the bleating of the sheep often stop any further discussion about problems at Animal Farm. This silencing shows how a public that blindly follows its government can quell discourse and rebellion.
Near the end, the sheep are taught to bleat “four legs good, two legs better,” instead of their original mantra. The pigs use the sheep’s incessant bleating and blind following to stop any complaints that the pigs are becoming more like humans.
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