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Animal Farm


Author Background
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10





NAPOLEON (young boar)
Napoleon eventually becomes the tyrant of Animal Farm, which he obtains through his ruthlessness and cunning character.  As the story develops, he becomes more distant from the rest of the animals. Like his namesake, Napoleon Bonaparte he is the chief revolutionary in the animals’ overthrow of Farmer Jones.  This revolution was designed to bring about Old Major’s vision for the future, but Napoleon takes the responsibility for twisting Old Major’s dream so that it becomes unrecognizable. He is also an opportunist and is able to manipulate events to his own purpose.

SNOWBALL (young boar)
Of all the pigs, Snowball is the most articulate and innovative. He can visualize Old Major’s dream and does all in his power to make it a reality. He is used initially by Napoleon for his tactical ability and his intelligence, but once he has served his purpose, he is disposed of by Napoleon.  Initially he provided an important link between the pigs and the other animals and in this respect his persuasive rhetoric was an asset. Unlike Napoleon he showed courage in the battles, but it is his na've nature that fails to alert him to Napoleon’s lust for power.

On the departure of Snowball, Squealer becomes Napoleon’s right-hand pig.  He too has strong powers of communication and is used to twist the doctrines of Old Major.  One might describe him as a propagandist of the animal society promoting Napoleon’s ideas, but like Napoleon he too is a hypocrite. He is the eyes and ears of Napoleon, and keeps him informed regarding any dissent amongst the other animals.

OLD MAJOR (old boar)
At the start of the story, he is the oldest animal on the farm and would have become the natural leader in the new order.  He sows the seeds of revolution, but does not see this come into fruition.  He is the only pig to truly care for all the farm animals, and is thus respected by them all.

BOXER (cart-horse)
Boxer is a kind, hard-working horse of immense strength and contributes greatly to the initial success of Animal Farm. What he lacks in intelligence, he makes up for with his physical prowess and is able to ensure that the labor-intensive projects are completed successfully. His lack of intelligence is exploited by the pigs and he remains loyal to the new system despite its flaws. Napoleon feels challenged by the respect Boxer enjoys from the other animals. His death towards the end of the story is one of the most tragic aspects of Animal Farm.

CLOVER (mare)
Like Boxer, she is a hard worker for the community, and Orwell takes pains to supply the reader with a detailed character analysis.  She is protective of her foals and displays kindness to all the animals, but in particular to Boxer.  Like Boxer, she represents the true working class of the animal community. She perhaps understands the ideals of animalism better than Boxer, and she remains loyal to these doctrines with the hope that Old Major’s dream will eventually be fulfilled. She realizes that the pigs are being manipulative, but lacks the courage to oppose them.

BENJAMIN (donkey)
Unlike the two cart-horses, Benjamin is intelligent and soon realizes the ideals of animalism are not being followed, and is cynical about their new way of life under Napoleon’s rule. His loyalty lies with Boxer and Clover, but he recognizes that the pigs are no better than the humans.  His views are not considered by the other animals during the initial success of Animal Farm, but eventually he is proved right.

MOLLY (mare)
Molly was more a pet for the farmer and has reservations about the new order, and contributes little to the working of Animal Farm.  The revolution results in a loss of the privileges she enjoyed under Farmer Jones’ regime, and she soon leaves the community so that she can enjoy life elsewhere.

MOSES (raven)
A highly religious bird, Moses tells the animals stories about the life hereafter on Sugar Candy Mountain. He is untrustworthy and some animals suspect him of being a spy, but for whom they are not sure.  At the start of the story he is a human pet, but returns later and is accepted by the pigs. 

The dogs are closely linked to the pigs, some being reared by Napoleon from puppies. They quickly change their loyalty from Farmer Jones to Napoleon. They enjoy a privileged position alongside the pigs solely due to the fact that they are the police force of the animal society.

Not surprisingly, the sheep represent the most stupid element of the animal society. They have the most difficulty in understanding the aims of the revolution and in learning to become literate. They abbreviate the Seven Commandments to one slogan, “Four legs good, two legs bad”.  The pigs use the sheep as a means of oppressing free speech by encouraging them to bleat ceaselessly.

As a group they are considered by the other animals as the most intelligent and capable of creatures.  It is they who devise the Commandments on which the new order will be based. Collectively, they make all the decisions and innovations necessary on the farm.

These are the only animals to put up any resistance to Napoleon. They remember one of Old Major’s initial ideals that hens’ eggs should not be taken, as this is “inhumane”.  When Napoleon instructs that this is to continue, they rebel by smashing their eggs. They are cruelly oppressed by Napoleon.

Like Molly, the cat loses a lot after the revolution and her selfish attitude is evident when she cannot appreciate that the animals suffer at the hands of Farmer Jones.  She is prepared to enjoy the benefits of the revolution, but is a parasite and does not work towards Animal Farm’s success.  She does agree that making the animals literate is a good idea, and attempts to persuade the sparrows to learn how to read.


Jones manages his farm poorly and is often drunk and during these times he forgets to feed his stock or ensure that they are safely bedded down for the night. The farm is a means for supporting his drunkenness and he puts very little effort into the farm, treating his livestock cruelly. He is used by the pigs as a threat when some show dissent, so he has a more influential part to play in the storyline after he has been forcibly removed from Manor Farm.  His wife is rarely mentioned in the book, but she too is portrayed unfavorably.

He is a neighboring farmer who is also neglectful of his stock, spending most of his time hunting and fishing. Napoleon tries to persuade him to attack the farm in an attempt to play him off against another neighboring farmer, Frederick. For a short time towards the end of the story, he becomes an ally to the pigs.

In contrast to Jones and Pilkington, Frederick runs an efficient farm realizing that you get more out of your farm if you put more effort into it. He is, however, a shrewd individual and in his dealings with Napoleon he is shown to be an adept businessman, successfully tricking Napoleon.


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