Old Major is the wise old pig whose stirring speech to the animals helps set the Rebellion in motion- though he dies
before it actually begins. His role compares with that of Karl Marx, whose ideas set the Communist Revolution in motion.
Napoleon is a "large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar, not much of a talker, but with a reputation for getting his own
way." And so he does. Instead of debating with Snowball, he sets his dogs on him and continues to increase his personal
power and privileges from that time on. What counts for him is power, not ideas. Note his name: think of the other
Napoleon (Bonaparte) who took over the French Revolution and turned it into a personal Empire. Napoleon's character
also suggests that of Stalin and other dictators as well.
Snowball is an energetic, brilliant leader. He's the one who successfully organizes the defense of the Farm (like Trotsky
with the Red Army). He's an eloquent speaker with original- although not necessarily beneficial- ideas (the windmill).
Squealer is short, fat, twinkle-eyed and nimble, "a brilliant talker." He has a way of skipping from side to side and
whisking his tail that is somehow very persuasive. They say he can turn black into white! That's just what he does, again
and again: every time the pigs take more wealth and power, Squealer persuades the animals that this is absolutely
necessary for the well-being of all. When things are scarce, he proves that production has increased- with figures. He is
also the one who makes all the changes in the Seven Commandments. In human terms he is the propaganda apparatus
that spreads the "big lie" and makes people believe in it.
Boxer believes in the Rebellion and in its Leader. His two favorite sayings are "Napoleon is always right" and "I will work
harder." His huge size and strength and his untiring labor save the Farm again and again. He finally collapses from age and
overwork, and is sold for glue.
Clover the mare is a motherly, protective figure. She survives to experience, dimly and wordlessly, all the sadness of the
Mollie, the frivolous, luxury-loving mare, contrasts with Clover. She deserts Animal Farm for sugar and ribbons at a
human inn. Orwell may have been thinking of certain Russian nobles who left after the Revolution, or of a general human
The dogs represent the means used by a totalitarian state to terrorize its own people. Think of them as Napoleon's secret
Muriel the goat reads better than Clover and often reads things (such as Commandments) out loud to her.
The stupid sheep keep bleating away any slogan the pigs teach them. You can guess who they are.
Moses the Raven, who does no work, but tells comforting tales of the wonderful Sugarcandy Mountain where you go
when you die, is a satire of organized religion. (Marx called religion, in a famous phrase, "the opiate of the people.") In
terms of Russia, Moses represents the Orthodox Church. Watch what happens to him in the story.
The pigeons spread the word of Rebellion beyond the farm, as many Communists spread the doctrine of the revolution
beyond the boundaries of the Soviet Union.
Gloomy Benjamin, the donkey, may remind you of Eeyore in Winnie-the-Pooh, except that unlike Eeyore he never
complains about his own personal problems. He is a skeptic and a pessimist- we'd almost say a cynic, if it weren't for his
loyal devotion to Boxer. Like his friend, he doesn't talk much and patiently does his work, although- unlike Boxer- no
more than is required. He's also unlike Boxer in that he does not believe in the Revolution, nor in anything else, except
that life is hard. Whatever political question he is asked, he replies only that "Donkeys live a long time" and "None of you
has ever seen a dead donkey." He survives.
In the narrowest sense the drunken, negligent Farmer Jones represents the Czar. He also stands for any government that
declines through its own corruption and mismanagement.
Pilkington, who likes hunting and fishing more than farming, represents Orwell's view of the decadent British gentleman in
particular- and of the Allied nations in general, especially Britain and France.
Whymper is a commercial go-between for animals and humans- just as certain capitalists have always transacted business
with Communist nations.
The cruel Frederick doesn't really represent anything, but he does kind of show a strong resemblance toward Geramny,
the cruel nation that it is.
All this information comes from: