In the novel Animal Farm by George Orwell, Napoleon rises to power, and becomes the ruler of the other animals on the farm. Orwell describes the series of methods which Napoleon used to put all of the animals under his control.
Napoleon’s first method of gaining power was by picking the right audience. Napoleon picked the sheep to be his audience. The sheep were picked because Napoleon was easily able to teach the sheep to end discussions with loud chants of “Four legs good, two legs bad.” This is seen when the sheep interrupted crucial moments of Snowball’s brilliant speeches with the rowdy chant. Additionally, the sheep would silence any potential rebellion. For example, when Napoleon abolished the singing of Beasts of England, “Some of the animals might possibly have protested, but at this moment, the sheep started bleating ‘Four legs good, two legs bad,’… and this put an end to the discussion.” (p. 88)
Another method that Napoleon used to rise to power was the collection of brute force. When nine puppies were born to the farm, Napoleon took them, and made them his personal brute force. Eventually, the dogs “Wagged their tails to him the same way other dogs had been used to do to Mr. Jones.” (p. 53) Napoleon used his “fierce-looking like wolves dogs” (p. 53) to remove Snowball from Animal Farm. Additionally, when the pigs started to protest Snowball’s expulsion, “The dogs sitting round Napoleon let out deep menacing growls, and the pigs fell silent.” (p. 54)
Furthermore, Squealer used the dogs. For example, when Squealer explained Napoleon’s opinion regarding the windmill, the animals accepted the explanation without question because, “The three dogs who happened to be with him growled so threateningly.” (p. 58) Napoleon understood that if fear was present, the animals would make themselves believe anything.
An additional method that Napoleon used to rise to power was his creation of social classes. Napoleon needed to socially separate himself from the other animals, and he used small and subtle changes to accomplish this. Napoleon did this by giving special privileges to all pigs, and greater privileges to himself. First, he gave all pigs apples and milk, but sugar for himself. As time passed, all pigs were allowed to sleep in beds, but Napoleon gave himself his own apartment. As more time passed, all pigs were given a pint of beer daily, but Napoleon gave himself half-a-gallon of beer daily. Finally, all pigs were allowed to carry whips, but Napoleon gave himself a whip and a pipe. By giving privileges in small increments, the animals could not pin down exactly what changed, and they were only “Conscious of a vague uneasiness.” (p. 63) Thus, the animals accepted the changes. By doing this, social classes were made where Napoleon was superior to the pigs, and the pigs were superior to the other animals.
In addition to Napoleon using subtle changes to create social classes, he also used subtle changes to make the animals believe that Snowball was bad. Using small and subtle changes, Napoleon made the animals accept that Snowball, who once had the status of “Animal Hero, First Class,” was really an enemy. Napoleon used this to his advantage by making Snowball a scapegoat. For example, when the windmill was destroyed, it was clearly due to a poor structure which was designed by Napoleon. Accordingly, the destruction of the windmill should have been blamed on Napoleon. However, before anyone could blame Napoleon, Napoleon quickly shouted out, “Snowball has done this thing!”
Animal Farm teaches valuable lessons on becoming a ruler. To rise to power, a person must know the psychology of who they are trying to rule over. The person must know how fear will be tolerated, and how changes will be accepted.