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

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In Animal Farm, the main idea of the new poem "Comrade Napoleon" is to excessively praise Napoleon. It is a piece of propaganda used to help reinforce his power and convince all the other animals to be loyal to him without question.

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“Comrade Napoleon” is a piece of propagandistic doggerel, that is to say, a really bad poem used for the purposes of propaganda. Its aim is to lavish obsequious praise upon the porky dictator and make the other animals believe that he's an all-round nice guy who always had their best interests at heart.

The poem, if indeed it can be dignified with the word, seeks to put forward a completely false portrait of Napoleon. It gives the impression—entirely misleading, of course—that Napoleon is personally responsible for all the gains of the Animalist revolution.

This grotesque distortion of history conveniently leaves out Napoleon's many failures as leader, not to mention ignoring the contributions of Napoleon's mortal enemy, Snowball. In doing so, the poem provides additional support to the regime's blatant rewriting of history. It's not enough that Napoleon and his gang get to control the present and future; they must also control the past.

What's particularly noteworthy about “Comrade Napoleon” is its likening of Napoleon to the sun. As well as conveying the propaganda message that Napoleon is a shining light, a source of enlightenment, this ludicrous comparison is meant to reinforce the notion that Napoleon's dictatorship is permanent. Just as the sun will always shine, so Napoleon will always rule.

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In chapter 8 of Animal Farm, Minimus writes his poem praising Napoleon on the wall of the big barn. The purpose of this heavy-handed piece of lyrical propaganda is to link all the successes of the farm to Napoleon, even the ones that he did not have a hand in.

This optimistic poem appears on the barn shortly after the dark and frightening executions take place. It is meant to exalt Napoleon as the leader of the farm and to make it clear that the revolution has ended. This poem compares the glory of Napoleon to the sun itself. It also carries an implied threat, as a couple of lines indicate that there is nothing that goes unnoticed by Napoleon.

By reinforcing Napoleon's cult of personality, this poem was meant by Orwell to reinforce the parallels between Napoleon and Joseph Stalin, the dictator of the Soviet Union at the time this book was written. Numerous odes, poems, and songs were composed in order to praise Stalin. Most, like "Comrade Napoleon," were complete works of fiction and overly excessive flattery.

This poem is also meant as a sort of replacement to the previously composed "Beasts of England." This earlier work was meant to inspire all the animals to rebellion. It praised the collective strength of them all and named no single animal in particular. After the revolution, this anthem was banned by Napoleon, since it was used to criticize his hypocrisy. To take its place, "Comrade Napoleon" was commissioned.

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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.

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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.

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