Animal Farm

Napoleon Character Analysis

The primary antagonist of the novel; a pig who is one of Old Major’s disciples, along with Snowball. At first, Napoleon and Snowball work together to develop the ideology of Animalism and spread its ideals throughout all the animals on the farm, but Napoleon proves to have very different goals than Snowball. Where Snowball is relatively idealistic and wants to help others, Napoleon soon proves himself cruel and power hungry. When the conflict comes to a head over whether or not to build a windmill, Napoleon reveals that he’s trained nine dogs to be his secret police force, chases Snowball off the farm, and institutes a totalitarian state at Animal Farm. He maintains his rule by demanding unwavering loyalty and trust from his subjects, and he achieves at least outward displays of trust through intimidation and the spread of misinformation through propaganda. Napoleon is often the one to make grand, sinister-sounding pronouncements, but then always sends the pig Squealer around to convince everyone that Napoleon is actually acting in their best interests—and never in his own self-interest. He’s especially interested in developing an educated ruling class, which he does by educating the dogs, and later by insisting on educating the 31 piglets he fathers in a special schoolhouse. Throughout the novel, Napoleon proves himself to be paranoid, self-important, and unable to accept that he’s wrong—he blames all manner of horrible things on either Snowball or the neighboring farmers. By the end of the novel, Napoleon is undistinguishable from the humans he has denounced along: he is fat, powerful, and begins to walk on two legs, wear clothes, and carry a whip. In Napoleon’s eyes, it’s a good thing that the other animals are so hungry and powerless, and he insists that this state of affairs is called for in Animalism. He ultimately changes Animal Farm’s name back to Manor Farm in a bid to make it seem more palatable to the farmers, and he proves himself to be just as corrupt as his human counterparts. Napoleon symbolizes Stalin, who led the Soviet Union from 1930 until his death in 1953.

Napoleon Quotes in Animal Farm

The Animal Farm quotes below are all either spoken by Napoleon or refer to Napoleon. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet Classics edition of Animal Farm published in 1996.
Chapter 2  Quotes

THE SEVEN COMMANDMENTS
1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
7. All animals are equal.

Related Characters: Napoleon, Snowball, Old Major
Page Number: 24-25
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 3 Quotes

“Comrades!” he cried. “You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples.”

Related Characters: Squealer (speaker), Napoleon, Snowball
Page Number: 35-36
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 5 Quotes

At this there was a terrible baying sound outside, and nine enormous dogs wearing brass-studded collars came bounding into the barn. They dashed straight for Snowball, who only sprang from his place just in time to escape their snapping jaws.

Related Characters: Napoleon, Snowball, The Dogs
Related Symbols: Character Names, The Windmill
Page Number: 52-53
Explanation and Analysis:
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“No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?”

Related Characters: Squealer (speaker), Napoleon
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:
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“Napoleon is always right.”

Related Characters: Boxer (speaker), Napoleon
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 6 Quotes

“Comrades, do you know who is responsible for this? Do you know the enemy who has come in the night and overthrown our windmill? SNOWBALL!”

Related Characters: Napoleon (speaker), Snowball
Related Symbols: The Windmill
Page Number: 69-70
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 7 Quotes

If she herself had had any picture of the future, it had been of a society of animals set free from hunger and the whip, all equal, each working according to his capacity, the strong protecting the weak [...] Instead - she did not know why - they had come to a time when no one dared speak his mind, when fierce, growling dogs roamed everywhere, and when you had to watch your comrades torn to pieces after confessing to shocking crimes.

Related Characters: Napoleon, Clover, The Dogs
Page Number: 86-87
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 10 Quotes

Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals themselves any richer—except, of course, for the pigs and the dogs.

Related Characters: Napoleon, Squealer, The Dogs, Minimus
Page Number: 129
Explanation and Analysis:
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ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.

Related Characters: Napoleon, Benjamin, Squealer, Clover
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:
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The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Related Characters: Napoleon, Squealer, Clover, Mr. Pilkington
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:
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Napoleon Character Timeline in Animal Farm

The timeline below shows where the character Napoleon appears in Animal Farm. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2 
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...imaginations of the more intelligent animals on Manor Farm, specifically the pigs. Two young boars, Napoleon and Snowball, see that they must prepare for the promised rebellion. With a small fat... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
Class Warfare Theme Icon
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...to gaze upon the farm. They inspect every building and pasture, ending with the farmhouse. Napoleon and Snowball lead the animals into the house for a tour. They’re in awe of... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
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...as they haven’t been milked. The animals wonder what to do with the milk, but Napoleon gallantly tells everyone not to worry about it. When the animals return that evening from... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...put forth resolutions for debate. The pigs are the only ones who propose resolutions and Napoleon and Snowball are the most active debaters. However, they never seem to be able to... (full context)
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Napoleon takes an interest in the nine puppies born to the dogs, which arrive soon after... (full context)
Chapter 4
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By late summer, half of England knows about Animal Farm. Snowball and Napoleon send out pigeons to spread the word to other animals and teach them “Beasts of... (full context)
Chapter 5
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The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...to ratify the pigs’ decisions, however. The system would be perfect, except that Snowball and Napoleon disagree on every point. Snowball is better at speaking and convincing animals at meetings, but... (full context)
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
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The Soviet Union Theme Icon
Snowball speaks often about farming theory and develops complicated schemes. Napoleon comes up with no ideas of his own, but quietly insists that Snowball’s schemes are... (full context)
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...After this, he says, the animals will only have to work three days per week. Napoleon argues that they need to increase their food production and that focusing on the windmill... (full context)
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...especially since news of the animals’ victory at the Battle of the Cowshed has spread. Napoleon insists they must train the animals to use firearms, while Snowball proposes they send out... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
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...and brings it to a vote at the Sunday meeting. He makes his case logically. Napoleon then stands and says only that the windmill is nonsense, and nobody should vote for... (full context)
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Napoleon stands on the raised platform, surrounded by the dogs. The other animals notice that these... (full context)
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Later, Squealer makes the rounds to explain the new rules. He points out that Napoleon is sacrificing himself by taking on the difficult job of leadership, and he must do... (full context)
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The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...Every Sunday, the animals gather in the barn to get their orders for the week. Napoleon disinters Old Major’s skull and asks everyone to walk past it reverently, while during meetings,... (full context)
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Later, Squealer explains privately that Napoleon never opposed the windmill—it had been his idea and Snowball stole his plans. Napoleon only... (full context)
Chapter 6
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
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...won’t profit from their efforts. They work 60-hour weeks through the summer, and in August, Napoleon announces that they’ll work on Sunday afternoons. This is voluntary, but animals who don’t work... (full context)
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...need tools, machinery, and seeds. Nobody knows how to get these things. One Sunday morning, Napoleon announces that Animal Farm will trade with the neighboring farms for the items they need.... (full context)
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The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...growling dogs silence them, and the sheep begin bleating “Four legs good, two legs bad!” Napoleon explains that the animals won’t have to see much of the humans, as he’s hired... (full context)
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...every Monday. The animals avoid him as much as possible, but they do pridefully watch Napoleon—on four legs—giving orders to a two-legged human. Other humans hate Animal Farm more than ever.... (full context)
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
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...brains of the farm, for them to have a quiet place to work. Referring to Napoleon as “Leader,” Squealer also insists that it’s more dignified for Napoleon to live in a... (full context)
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Napoleon rushes to the site and snuffles around sharply. He suddenly stops and quietly says that... (full context)
Chapter 7
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
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...eat and fear they’ll starve to death, but they conceal this from the outside world. Napoleon devises strategies to make it seem to Mr. Whymper that there’s lots of food. (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
Near the end of January, Napoleon recognizes that he has to find grain somewhere. He spends most of time in the... (full context)
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The Soviet Union Theme Icon
Rumors circulate that Snowball is hiding at Foxwood or Pinchfield, while Napoleon’s relationships with both farms improve. Animal Farm has a pile of timber that Mr. Whymper... (full context)
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Napoleon announces an investigation into Snowball’s activities. He and his dogs tour the farm, finding evidence... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
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...read) that Snowball was going to give them all away. His plot would’ve succeeded if Napoleon hadn’t leapt at Mr. Jones crying “Death to Humanity” and bit Mr. Jones’s leg. This... (full context)
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Four days later, Napoleon orders the animals to assemble in the yard and emerges from the farmhouse, wearing both... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
Napoleon asks who else has something to confess. Three hens confess that in a dream, Snowball... (full context)
Class Warfare Theme Icon
Language as Power Theme Icon
...she still recognizes that this is better than Mr. Jones’s return would be. She’ll accept Napoleon’s leadership, even if this wasn’t what she hoped for. (full context)
Chapter 8
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Napoleon is now seldom seen in public. He never goes out without the dogs, and now,... (full context)
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
Napoleon busies himself negotiating with Mr. Frederick and Mr. Pilkington about the timber. Mr. Frederick wants... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
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One Sunday, Napoleon announces that he never considered selling the timber to such a horrible human as Mr.... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
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The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...work, and they think of what the windmill will be able to do for them. Napoleon announces that they’ll name the windmill Napoleon Mill. Two days later, Napoleon announces that he... (full context)
The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...the banknotes. Three days later, Mr. Whymper arrives with horrible news: the banknotes are forgeries. Napoleon immediately sentences Mr. Frederick to death and warns that Pinchfield might attack Animal Farm. He... (full context)
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...when he and the other animals see their flag, hear the gun, and listen to Napoleon’s speech, they all agree that this was a great victory. They solemnly bury the killed... (full context)
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...hear loud singing that sounds suspiciously like “Beasts of England” coming from the farmhouse, and Napoleon inexplicably gallops around the yard in Mr. Jones’s hat. In the morning, Squealer is the... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...free, not slaves. That spring, the four sows give birth to 31 piglets, all obviously Napoleon’s children. Napoleon announces plans for a schoolroom for them but teaches them himself in the... (full context)
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...year, but it’s still short on money. The animals need building materials and sugar for Napoleon, so Napoleon increases the hens’ egg quota to 600 per week. He reduces rations twice... (full context)
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In April, Animal Farm becomes a Republic in need of a president. Napoleon is the only candidate and wins the election unanimously. He uncovers more documents detailing Snowball’s... (full context)
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...Clover, all the animals run to tell Squealer what happened. Squealer concernedly tells Boxer that Napoleon is going to send him for treatment at the Willingdon veterinary hospital. This disturbs the... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
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...was with Boxer to the end. Boxer’s last words were in support of the windmill, Napoleon, and Animal Farm. (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
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...heard rumors that some animals believe Boxer went to the glue factory. This isn’t true: Napoleon would never do that, for one, and for another, the veterinary hospital had just purchased... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...dies and even Boxer is forgotten. Clover is now 14, but she’s still not retired. Napoleon and Squealer are both huge and fat. There are many animals on the farm, but... (full context)
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
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...the farmhouse on two legs as well. The dogs bark and the black cockerel announces Napoleon’s entrance. Napoleon haughtily looks on the other animals and carries a whip in his trotter.... (full context)
Totalitarianism Theme Icon
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...pigs all carry whips, purchase a radio, and install a telephone. It’s not odd when Napoleon starts to wear clothes and smoke a pipe. (full context)
Revolution and Corruption Theme Icon
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The Soviet Union Theme Icon
...up to the house and the tall animals look in through the window. They see Napoleon sitting at the head of the table, surrounded by pigs and men all with mugs... (full context)
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Napoleon stands to make a speech. He says that the rumors that Animal Farm is rebellious... (full context)
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...creep away. They hear an uproar inside and return to the window. They see that Napoleon and Mr. Pilkington each played an ace of spades at the same time, and everyone... (full context)