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The main elements of Napoleon's character.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

NAPOLEON The first things we learn about Napoleon seem to tell us very little. In fact, they tell us a great deal. He is "large" and "rather fierce-looking". He is a "Berkshire boar", a large breed of pig that is almost entirely black (an appropriate colour for Napoleon and one which contrasts effectively with (we think Snowball's white). We are told he is "not much of a talker" but has "a reputation for getting his own way". This proves true indeed in his struggle with Snowball for leadership. This reluctance to speak is still seen at the end. His final speech is "like all of Napoleon's speeches ... short and to the point." The main elements of Napoleon's character are: 1 Opportunism Napoleon is always scheming and looking for an opportunity to turn things to his own advantage. He plans quietly, "behind the scenes" and in secret. His opportunism succeeds because he is able to combine devious thinking with practical thinking. The most striking example of this is the way he quickly realizes that the young dogs would eventually be very useful to him. He removes them and makes himself "responsible for their education". It is important to realize that this happens in Chapter 3. This is how early Napoleon begins to make his preparations for total power. The rest of the farm forget all about the dogs. The moment when they are reminded that they exist --- the attack on Snowball --- is perhaps the most significant and dramatic moment of the book. This opportunism is also revealed in Napoleon's dealings with Frederick and Pilkington. He tries to use their greed and rivalry for his own profit. He "plays them off" against each other to keep them confused. One moment they are friends of Animal Farm, the next enemies. After a period of "seeming friendship with Pilkington", Napoleon declares he has "really been in secret friendship with Frederick." ...read more.

Middle

Boxer cannot rejoice at the victory with the other animals. His only emotion is one of deep sorrow for the boy he thinks he had killed. Although this has happened unintentionally, in the middle of a desperate fight for survival, Boxer cannot excuse himself. And this sadness and remorse is for an enemy. "I have no wish to take life, not even human life," he repeats, with his eyes "full of tears". This is a display of compassion and decency of the highest order. This decency is revealed in other ways. We sense it in the love and devotion he arouses in Clover and the affection he inspires in such a cynical, difficult, yet wise creature as Benjamin. No matter how severe and harsh life becomes, Boxer (and Clover) "never lost heart". His wound troubles him greatly after the Battle of the Windmill, but he refuses to let his pain show for fear of discouraging the other animals. He also has decent, noble motives for looking forward to his retirement. He wants to "study and improve his mind". Boxer might not have "a first-rate intelligence", yet he is far from blindly stupid. He asks disturbing questions about Snowball. After the destruction and chaos of the Battle of the Windmill, Boxer is appalled and horrified. He responds to Squealer's propaganda about the "great victory" by looking at the dead bodies and asking, with the most simple and direct honesty: "What victory?" This is the sort of honesty, which will eventually cost Boxer's his life. 3 Dedication Only Snowball can match Boxer's dedication to Animalism. He becomes the "backbone " of the new society. His unfailing devotion and ceaseless efforts are a constant inspiration to the other animals. From the start, Boxer and Clover are the pigs' "most faithful disciples". His favourite motto is "I will work harder." It is tragic that he later misguidedly adds another --- "Napoleon is always right." ...read more.

Conclusion

He later returns to the farm with the same old stories. He is "quite unchanged" still does no work. Again, "many of the animals believe him." Now the pigs are more firmly in control. They declare, "contemptuously", that his stories about Sugarcandy Mountain are "lies" but they tolerate his presence, as it is useful in giving the animals hope and comfort. He is even allowed a gill of beer a day". THE CAT The cat plays a small yet interesting role in the book and provides many of the lighter, comic moments. The cat is the only character not given any name or a physical description and this suits the mysterious, stealthy way she threads through the story. She is the last to arrive at the meeting in Chapter 1, where she finds the warmest spot ("as usual") and does not listen to a single word. This is typical of a character who only ever thinks of herself throughout the entire story. She is also a typical cat in her independence ("she would vanish for hours on end"). She is lazy and can never be found "when there was work to be done", ye she always reappears at mealtimes. She always has "such excellent excuses" and purrs so "affectionately" that, like many domestic cats, her wayward, individual behaviour is tolerated. Surprisingly perhaps, she does take part in the fighting, taking her revenge in suitably "catty" fashion by sinking her claws into the humans. Yet she takes little interest in the "new society" and often votes for both sides in a debate without realising what she is doing. Like Moses, she can never make sacrifices for the sake of animal unity. She can never forget she is a cat as she deviously tell some other sparrows that "they are now all comrades" and they may "come and perch on her paw'. The sparrows wisely keep their distance. Her sudden disappearance shows her cats in time for self-preservation. This comes just before the executions and the cat has shrewdly said that "may we be on Napoleon's list of victims". ANIMAL FARM - CHARACTERS 1 1 ...read more.

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