Napoleon Essay Example. Was He a Tyrant?

A tyrant is a cruel and oppressive ruler. In ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell, we meet an oppressive ruler by the name of Farmer Jones. As The novel progresses, we find that Napoleon is capable of being a similar tyrant to Mr. Jones. Napoleon proves to be a similar tyrant to Mr. Jones in several ways. Before the rebellion Mr. Jones ruled and controlled the animals through fear and violence. The pigs make a commandment that “no animal shall kill any other animal”. This changes once Napoleon takes rule. Napoleon proves to be more hot-headed than Farmer Jones. For the second time, the animals find themselves living in fear amongst brutality and disorder. Orwell demonstrates Napoleon’s cruelty in yet another way. Napoleon takes the animals' produce away from them until they have no reward for their toils and hardships, they are left living off the bare necessities of life. Napoleon also acts similarly to Mr. Jones in the way that he becomes attached to alcohol. He also takes on every bad attribute of man. Napoleon thus proves himself to be a worse tyrant than Mr. Jones.

Violence is a part of everyday life for the animals before Mr. Jones is expelled. After the rebellion seven commandments are created. One being that “no animal shall kill any other animal”. As Napoleon begins to emerge as the leader of ‘Animal Farm’ his true colours begin to show. He is a cruel and oppressive ruler, a tyrant. Napoleon’s actions prove to be equivalently tyrannical to Farmer Jones. Napoleon gains all his political power and control through violence. We see an example of this when Napoleon expels and later executes Snowball. He does this through the power of violence. “It seemed certain that they had him… one of them all but closed his jaws on Snowball’s tail…”

When Snowball’s expulsion occurs, we see Napoleon’s true capability of becoming a horrendous tyrant. Napoleon however does not stop there. As the novel progresses Napoleon proves to be more like Farmer Jones. Napoleon adopts more of Mr. Jones techniques in stimulating fear and violence to gain control. Napoleon orders the ‘traitors’ to be executed in front of the other animals.  “There was a pile of corpses lying before Napoleon's feet…” This demonstration of what happens to those who go against Napoleon, helps to strengthen the power and control that Napoleon has over the other animals. The animals are now too scared to speak their minds. We hear this from Clover’s point of view when the narrator says, “she did not know why they had come to a time when no one dared to speak his mind…” Napoleon continues to carry forward in his tyrannical ways. He is becoming more like Mr. Jones and a similar tyrant through his use of violence and fear to create power and control.

Greed is a key part of any tyrant’s life. Orwell uses first Farmer Jones and then Napoleon to demonstrate this. Farmer Jones comes across as an extremely greedy character. He cares only for himself and alcohol. He constantly forgets to lock the animals up and feed them. He seems to be the worst ruler that the animals could have. We are however, soon proven wrong as Napoleon’s greed begins to emerge. As the novel progresses, Napoleon continues to deprive the animals of their rights he takes their food and privileges for himself. He goes so far as to sell Boxer to the knackers so that he can buy himself more alcohol. We hear from Benjamin that “They are taking Boxer to the knacker’s!... “and shortly after, the pigs somehow acquire “the money to buy themselves another case of whiskey…” Napoleon's greed for alcohol is so great that he deprives the animals of their own produce so that he can buy it.

The animals are soon striped from all accessories and are left with only the bare necessities of life. “The animals worked like slaves”. As the animals continue to work and gain no reward for their toil and hard work. Napoleon takes all the fruits of their labours from them. “The mystery of where the milk went to was soon cleared up. It was mixed everyday into the pigs’ mash” The pigs continue to deprive the animals from the fruits of their hard work. The animals find themselves as bad off as they were in Jones’s rule. They now have, “no more food than they had on Jones day…” As Napoleon's greed continues, we find that he is acting more tyrannically than Farmer Jones. 

Napoleon takes on every bad attribute of man. He drinks heavily and uses violence to gain control. As well as this, he takes every comfort possible for himself and leaves the animals with almost nothing. Napoleon begins to go back on the seven commandments and the pigs created. Slowly one by one, the commandments change. “No animal shall sleep in a bed” becomes, “No animals shall sleep in a bed with sheets”. Napoleon continues until he is going against all seven of the commandments. The commandments are rubbed off the wall and changed to “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. Napoleon even goes to the extent of wearing clothes and learning how to walk on two legs. “it was a pig walking on its hind legs…

Napoleon himself, majestically upright…” The more that Napoleon acts like a man, the bigger tyrant he becomes. Napoleon soon carries “a whip in his trotter” and acts like a human in every way that he possibly can. Shortly the animals are not sure of who to be more afraid of, man or Napoleon? The narrator states that the animals work diligently, “Not knowing whether to be more frightened of the pigs or of the human visitors.” Napoleon has made himself so tyrannical that the animals are in fact no better off under his rule than they were under Farmer Jones. 

Napoleon has become a similar tyrant to Mr Jones. The animals are now as frightened of him as they were of Farmer Jones. Napoleon, like Mr Jones, rules through fear and violence. He gains power and control of the animals through the use of corruption and fear. He also takes the fruits of the animal’s labours away from them. Napoleon takes up every bad attribute of man. He takes up drinking and learns to walk on two legs. By the end of the novel, we find that Napoleon is a cruel and oppressive ruler, and that he is more tyrannical that Framer Jones.