George Orwell’s character Napoleon is a very clever and sly animal. He uses several methods to take and maintain control of the farm. His primary methods are by using fear, exploiting the animal and by bending the rules. However, Napoleon uses his intellect to good effect as far as self-interest is concerned.
Napoleon instills fear as a way of giving the animal no chance to argue about what he says. This allows him to run the farm in his manner and gives him a more comfortable life than the other animals. Early on in Animal Farm, Napoleon takes Jessie and Bluebell’s nine newborn puppies. These puppies become the forefront of his campaign of fear. He uses them to gain power by eliminating his nemesis, Snowball “They dashed straight for Snowball…he slipped through a hole in the hedge and was seen no more.”
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Also, Napoleon used the dogs in the public forum he created by setting an example of what would happen to those animals who disobeyed him. When it was revealed that some of the animals had done things to side with the Snowball, Napoleon executed them in front of everyone else. Orwell’s character Squealer was given a remarkable ability to speak; this helped Napoleon get out of sticky situations and inscribe fear into the animals’ heads all at once.
When any of the animals questioned Napoleon’s actions, he would confuse the animals with his intellect but would do it cunningly by asking, “Surely, Comrades, you do not want Jones back?” Using this persuasive rhetorical question, the animals wouldn’t question what Jones had done and would get on with things. Thus, not only did Napoleon instill fear upon the animals, but he also exploited them and did other things such as establish trade links to deal with the financial side of keeping control of the farm. Boxer was the most loyal, hard-working “comrade” on the farm.
Napoleon abuses his loyalty by getting all the work out of him that he can, then selling him to the slaughterhouse to get the last possible bit of money out of him. Also, Napoleon uses the convincing speeches of Squealer as a way of preventing the animals from being enraged by the killing of Boxer “the van had previously been the property of the knacker and had been bought by the veterinary surgeon, who had not painted the old name out.” The Squealer promoted Napoleon’s love saying he had paid out much money on expensive medicines leading the animals to think that Napoleon was kind and caring.
However in fact he was using boxer for a personal benefit before he could reach retiring age. Also, Napoleon established trade links with neighbouring farms to allow more income in exchange for overly produced goods. It shows that Napoleon knew he needed more than just control of the animals to keep control of the farm. Napoleon took full advantage of the fact that most of the animals could not read or write and that they had bad memories that didn’t nearly match those of the pigs. To allow himself a more comfortable living standard and to create a higher place for himself in society, Napoleon alters some of the commandments set out in the early days of the rebellion.
For example, Napoleon sleeps in one of the forbidden beds, but he gets Squealer to edit the commandment to “No animal may sleep in a bed with sheets” to ensure that Napoleon is not “breaking” and rules and can live more comfortably. Also, toward the end of the book, a new commandment is made to replace the other commandments. “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others” gave the pigs a higher status without letting the less intellectual animals realize what was going on. This all led to a more comfortable life for Napoleon and the pigs.
In Animal Farm, Napoleon uses many methods to keep and maintain control. The book is based on the Russian Revolution with Napoleon representing the dictator, Stalin. Towards the end, Animal Farm loses its democracy. Napoleon used other animals such as Squealer to maintain control and did not give any of the other animals a say in what went on. This allows Napoleon’s self-interest to be fuelled by the power that comes to him.
To keep that power Napoleon engraves fear into the animals’ minds, exploits their hard work and bends the rules to suit his needs. He uses aggressive tactics such as biding his time for example, when he waits until Snowball’s windmill plans are finalized before using them himself. This again ties in with the Russian revolution. Orwell uses Napoleon to express his view on Stalin in how he keeps and maintains control of animal farms as Stalin did of Russia.