Animal Farm, a book by George Orwell has a variety of different characters with various different personalities. But one animal’s personality that I found compelling and had a lot of thoughts about was Napoleon, the leader of the animals. Napoleon starts out as a good and strong leader, but then later on in the book, you can see how his attitude begins to shift drastically. I found that Napoleon was heartless, unfair, unreasonable, dishonest, and corrupted by power.
One trait that I found Napoleon to be was heartless. Throughout the book, George Orwell proves Napoleon to be a similar leader to Joseph Stalin, which shows his lack of emotion. For example, after Napoleon found out that two pigs betrayed him for Snowball, he ordered his guard dogs to tear them to shreds at once. Napoleon didn’t even bother to give them a second chance, but instead, overwhelmed by his heartlessness, he chose to kill them off. To add onto the point of Napoleon being heartless, the tyrant sent Boxer, his most loyal follower to a butcher after he became old and frail. This shows a lot about him, since Napoleon showed no sympathy or hesitation of sending Boxer away for his own benefit, regardless whether or not he played a major role in helping Napoleon get to where he is now.
I also found that Napoleon treats his ‘fellow comrades’ unreasonably by not staying with what his followers originally agreed on. After Napoleon became the clear leader without a potential threat, he began to slowly shift the rules without a consensus. At first, Napoleon and the others establish that no alcohol is to be consumed, no animal shall sleep in a bed, and no animal shall kill another animal. Napoleon breaks these laws then continues to change them immediately after he does. For example, after the animals found Napoleon clearly drinking liquor, the animals find out that he had changed the law to no animals shall become drunk, although consumption of it is fine. Another example is when Napoleon allows all of the pigs to sleep in Mr. Jones’ house, on beds. By arranging this, he is already giving an advantage to the pigs to be more superior, naturally causing it to be unfair for the others. A last example is of Napoleon mercilessly killing the animals that merely committed a crime. This shows that he is unfair and unreasonable for, as mentioned above, not giving the animals a second chance for a small mistake they made. Assumably, Napoleon orders someone to change the commandment from “No animal shall kill another animal”, to “No animal shall kill another animal without cause”.
The last trait that I found Napoleon to be was corrupted. Although he may have been turned for the worse, it wasn’t entirely his fault, since it’s natural to be tempted by all that power. Evidence of Napoleon turning corrupted by power can be found nearly everywhere in Animal Farm. For instance, in the beginning, when he didn’t have that much power as he was always trying to compete with Snowball for leadership, the animals appeared to prefer him. The old Napoleon was more caring and thoughtful about what everybody wanted and came close to satisfying everyone’s needs, not only his own. But once Snowball was banished and Napoleon became the distinct leader, Napoleon began to become the heartless, untrustworthy leader he is now. Napoleon was tempted to do whatever he pleased because of all the things that he could control.
So in conclusion, after reading the book, I found that Napoleon wasn’t the best leader for the animals and someone else more humble or wiser should’ve taken the lead. As the story progresses, we can see how Napoleon’s attitude changes and the animals viewpoints on it. The more and more Napoleon stays a leader, the more and more the animals have an unpleasant life filled with labor under a cruel hand.