Napoleon is the main character of Animal Farm, as he is the driving force behind most of the plot. However, we generally do not have direct access to his perspective, but mostly learn of his actions and plans from the point of view of the other animals. This echoes the way in which Napoleon carries out most of his plans in secret and removes himself from the daily lives of the animals to become a figurehead.
He is a pig, described as a “rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar” (p. 9). His physical appearance changes at several points in the story – for example, he gradually grows fatter as he reserves more and more food for himself, and he starts to wear human clothes.
His appearance also changes dramatically in the story’s climax, when he beings to walk on his hind legs like a human being: “…Napoleon himself, majestically upright, casting haughty glances from side to side […] He carried a whip in his trotter.” (p. 89).
As pigs are considered the most intelligent animals (p.9), Napoleon quickly rises to a position of power even before the Rebellion, when he develops the principles of Animalism along with Snowball and Squealer (pp. 9-10).
When the animals have taken over, we quickly get the impression that Napoleon is greedy. After the cows have been milked, he suspiciously stays behind - and we later learn it was to make sure that the milk went to the pigs. Throughout the story we see similar efforts to seize more resources for himself and his upper class of pigs, such as his takeover of the farmhouse with its modern conveniences and his schemes to obtain apples and alcohol. The most dramatic expression of his greed is when he sacrifices Boxer’s life to purchase a crate of whisky towards the end of the story (pp. 81-84).
Napoleon’s greed does not stop at resources, as he is ...