CliffsNotes Character Analysis



While Jones' tyranny can be somewhat excused due to the fact that he is a dull-witted drunkard, Napoleon's can only be ascribed to his blatant lust for power. The very first description of Napoleon presents him as a "fierce-looking" boar "with a reputation for getting his own way." Throughout the novel, Napoleon's method of "getting his own way" involves a combination of propaganda and terror that none of the animals can resist. Note that as soon as the revolution is won, Napoleon's first action is to steal the cows' milk for the pigs. Clearly, the words of old Majorinspired Napoleon not to fight against tyranny, but to seize the opportunity to establish himself as a dictator. The many crimes he commits against his own comrades range from seizing nine puppies to "educate" them as his band of killer guard dogs to forcing confessions from innocent animals and then having them killed before all the animals' eyes.

Napoleon's greatest crime, however, is his complete transformation into Jones — although Napoleon is a much more harsh and stern master than the reader is led to believe Jones ever was. By the end of the novel, Napoleon is sleeping in Jones' bed, eating from Jones' plate, drinking alcohol, wearing a derby hat, walking on two legs, trading with humans, and sharing a toast with Mr. Pilkington. His final act of propaganda — changing the Seventh Commandment to "ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL / BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS" — reflects his unchallenged belief that he belongs in complete control of the farm. His restoration of the name Manor Farm shows just how much Napoleon has wholly disregarded the words of old Major.


The owner of Foxwood, a neighboring farm in "disgraceful" condition, Pilkington becomes an ally to Napoleon. This alliance, however, has a rocky start, when Napoleon changes the pigeons' message of "Death to Jones;Frederick" to "Death to Pilkington" and Pilkington refuses to help when the farm is attacked by Frederick. However, Napoleon and Pilkington eventually reconcile since they are, in essence, made of the same moral fiber and need each other to prosper (as seen when Pilkington sells part of his land to Napoleon). In the novel's last scene, Pilkington praises what Napoleon has done with Animal Farm, getting more work out of the animals with less food and likening the "lower animals" to humanity's "lower classes." The final moments of the novel, when Pilkington and Napoleon each attempt to cheat the other at cards, shows that their "friendship" is simply a facade each is using in order to better swindle the other.


The crafty owner of Pinchfield, a neighboring farm, Frederick is "perpetually involved in lawsuits" and reveals himself to be a cutthroat businessman. Despite his offers of sympathy to Jones about the rebellion at his farm, Frederick inwardly hopes that he can "somehow turn Jones' misfortune to his own advantage." He attempts this by offering to buy a load of timber


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