A pig. He creates the ideas behind Animalism and inspires the other animals to rebel. As a prize boar, Old Major has lived a relatively privileged life among the animals. This privileged life has given him the time to think about and understand fully the ways that humans exploit and enslave animals. Old Major's ideas inspire the animals' revolution, though Old Major dies before the revolution occurs. Old Major symbolizes both Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, the fathers of Communism.
The Animal Farm quotes below are all either spoken by Old Major or refer to Old Major. 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: Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Signet Classics edition of Animal Farm published in 1996.).
Chapter 1 Quotes
Man is the only real enemy we have. Remove Man from the scene, and the root cause of hunger and overwork is abolished for ever. Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.
Why then do we continue in this miserable condition? Because nearly the whole of the produce of our labour is stolen from us by human beings.
Remember, comrades, your resolution must never falter. No argument must lead you astray. Never listen when they tell you that Man and the animals have a common interest, that the prosperity of the one is the prosperity of the others. It is all lies. Man serves the interests of no creature except himself. And among us animals let there be perfect unity, perfect comradeship in the struggle. All men are enemies. All animals are comrades.
The timeline below shows where the character Old Major appears in Animal Farm. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.