How does Napoleon become Leader of animal farm, what are the consequences and what does this say about Orwell’s view of leaders in our society?
The novel Animal Farm is an allegorical novel which features Napoleon who opens the novel as ‘A young, rather fierce looking Berkshire Boar’ who is just and fair in his decisions. But after the revolution and the expulsion of Mr.Jones, Napoleon becomes the leader of the farm with a band of secret police; who has his nearest rival chased out and, by the conclusion of the novel Napoleon’s regime has become just as bad as that of Mr.Jones’. Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin, the communist leader of Russia and the novel is George Orwell’s representation of the Russian revolution with each character in the novel representing someone from the real life Russian revolution.
A number of factors contribute to Napoleon becoming leader of Animal Farm. After the ‘Battle of the cowshed’ Napoleon and Snowball are the major leaders of the farm but they are unable to cooperate, this we know because ‘these two (Napoleon and Snowball) disagreed at every point where disagreement was possible’. This proves that they didn’t get along because they would argue whenever it was possible. Napoleon didn’t like this because he wanted to get things his own way even if Snowball’s plans were more beneficial for the farm than his. Napoleon needed something that would get rid of his nearest rival for good; this is where the dogs or ‘Napoleon’s secret police’ come into the novel.
This is a preview of the whole essay
Napoleon takes the ‘nine sturdy puppies’ as they are referred to, near the end of chapter three. He tells their mother’s, Jessie and Bluebell that ‘He will make himself responsible for their education, he took them up into a loft room which could only be reached by a ladder from the harness room and there he kept them in such seclusion, that the rest of the farm soon forgot their existence’. The chance to remove Snowball arose when he began drawing up the plans for the windmill ‘Everyone including the chickens came to marvel at the plans’, so with no-one worrying about what he was planning, Napoleon was able to train the dogs to attack on his command and finally rids himself of his nearest rival at the unveiling of Snowball’s plans for the windmill ‘Nine enormous dogs dashed straight for Snowball……he put on extra spurt and, with a few inches to spare, slipped through a hole in the hedge and was seen no more’. This is the exact moment Napoleon seizes power of Animal Farm.
After Napoleon has seized control he sets about feeding the other animal’s disinformation about Snowball being a traitor. He gets his sickly, fat sidekick Squealer, who is extremely sycophantic towards him, to do his dirty work. Squealer tells the other animals that ‘The plan which Snowball had drawn on the incubator shed floor had actually been stolen from among Napoleon’s papers’. We are aware Snowball wouldn’t have done this but the animals are forced to believe that he did steal the plans because; some of the animals are not the sharpest Knives in the drawer and believe whatever they are told, and those with the slightest amount of intelligence believe he must of stolen the plans out of spite because of his stormy relationship with Napoleon. Squealer also stated things like ‘He (Napoleon) had seemed to oppose the windmill, simply as a manoeuvre to get rid of Snowball’. Squealer told the animal’s things like this to try and make it look like Napoleon had made the windmill plans and that Napoleon was the innocent party. He made it look as though Napoleon was just extracting his revenge by having Snowball chased out of the farm. This was Napoleon’s corruption coming to the forefront.
Napoleon begins his joint leadership with Snowball as being just and fair, when, after the ‘Battle of the cowshed’ he awarded himself and Snowball ‘Animal Hero, First Class’ and the dead sheep ‘Animal Hero, Second Class’. But Napoleon shows early signs of corruption when he takes the fresh milk and apples while the other animals are at the harvest with Snowball, he tells the other animals ‘Forward comrades the hay is waiting....when they returned it was noticed that the milk and apples had disappeared’. By the end of the novel Napoleon’s regime has become just as bad as that of Mr.Jones’, for instance when Napoleon tried the animals accused of plotting secretly with Snowball the ‘traitor’. Napoleon doesn’t have the decency to give them a fair trial; he just has them taken round the back of the barn and the ‘Nine great dogs, ripped out their throats’. This is totally against one of the seven animal commandments, ‘No animal shall kill any other animal ‘, however, after the incident with Snowball and the trials of the ‘traitors’ it quickly becomes ‘No animal shall kill any other animal, without cause’. It becomes custom for Napoleon to change laws to suit his and the other pig’s lives. He and the other pigs got a taste for whiskey, so the rule ‘No animal shall drink alcohol’ is changed to ‘No animal shall drink alcohol to excess’, but not only that, another travesty happens when the pigs discover whiskey. To get the whiskey the pigs had to engage in trade with Mr.Whymper, a local businessman who supplied them with all the luxuries they wanted. In the end Napoleon is so low because of his greed, that he immorally sells Boxer, who was ‘Worth two horses’, who literally single-handedly built the windmill and whose mottos were ‘I will work harder’ and ‘Napoleon is always right’, to Mr.Whymper’s Glue factory for more Whiskey. At the end of the novel the animals are looking through the window at a meeting between Napoleon, the pigs and the other farms, ‘The animals looked from pig to man, and man to pig, and already you couldn’t tell them apart’. The animals rebelled in the first place because of the human’s regime but the pigs and Napoleon dragged them back into a regime just like that of the humans and Napoleon had become the dictator that Mr.Jones was, the pigs had become humans.
George Orwell, the author of animal farm, wrote the novel to express his Anti-Stalinist, Anti-Imperialist and Anti-Communist convictions of the Russian Revolution. He shows his Anti-Stalinist convictions in the way he talks about Napoleon and the pigs that represent Joseph Stalin and his government, the polit Buro, Orwell makes the reader feel like you should despise Napoleon and the pigs because of what they have done. Orwell expresses his feelings for Stalin through the way the animals feel for Napoleon. Orwell believed that in the end, the communist governments had become just as bad as that of the already corrupt state governments. Orwell firmly believed that ‘All power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely’, which is what he thought, happened to Stalin and what did happen to Napoleon when they both went power mad, they were minorly corrupt when not in full control but once they got a taste of power, they wanted more and when they gained full power it went to their heads and they consequently became absolutely corrupt. In Orwell’s view Napoleon represents how leaders are corrupted and Mr.Jones represents the old guard governments that ruled before the communists and republicans took over. Orwell also believed that all leaders were selfish and two faced and shows this when Napoleon sells Boxer for whiskey.
In Conclusion, Napoleon became leader of animal farm because he used thought and intelligence and was sly and cunning with that. This affected the farm negatively and after he became sole leader it was a downhill slope for the animals, by the end of the novel Napoleon’s regime is just as bad, if not even worse than that of Mr.Jones. George Orwell was firmly against what happened in Russia, and expressed all his beliefs through the characters in this novel.
Matt Turner 9J