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Animal Farm Characters
Old MajorThe wisest animal on the farm, he instructs the animals on his ideas for how to better themselves. Represents Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx.
- Big Good: Before his death, he inspires the animals to rise up against Jones and to build a more egalitarian society. Of course we all know how that turns out...
- Cool Old Guy: He's the most respected animal on the farm, hands down.
- Dies Differently in Adaptation: In the the 1999 film, rather than dying peacefully in his sleep, he is killed by a stray gunshot from the drunken Jones.
- Also the case in the 1954 animated film, where he dies abruptly during the meeting while the animals are singing.
- Dry Crusader: The old boar says that no animal should ever drink alcohol. Considering he saw the effects it had on Mr. Jones firsthand, it's hard to blame him.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Represents Karl Marx (who died before seeing the Russian Revolution) and Vladimir Lenin (who died during its early years). The CIA (!) had Old Major given a voice like Winston Churchill for the 1954 film.
- Posthumous Character: Dies, but not before his Plot-Triggering Death inspired his fellow animals.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Before his death he pleas with his fellow animals to make the farm their own paradise, not knowing his fellow pigs would utterly corrupt his original vision.
SnowballA pig who ends up taking control of the farm and leads the rebellion against Jones.
- Big Good: Leads the farm against Jones, and runs Animal Farm during its early years, striving for the ideals of Animalism.
- Death by Adaptation: In the animated film.
- Didn't Think This Through: His windmill which requires materials like cables and turbines which simply aren't available on the farm."How these items were to be acquired Snowball did not say".
- The Dreaded: Napoleon and Squealer slap this on him after he is driven out of the farm, blaming every one of their mistakes and faults as Snowball's doing.
- Killed Offscreen: In the animated film, he is hunted down by the dogs and presumably killed gruesomely. The book and other works leave it more ambiguous.
- Large Ham: Then again, what do you expect from a Trotsky stand-in? Bonus points for being a literal ham.
- Mr. Vice Guy: He seems to be something of a glutton, but nevertheless a decent pig.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Inspired by Leon Trotsky. In the unofficial sequel Snowball's Chance he becomes one for George W. Bush.
- Not So Different: From the other pigs — Orwell stated that if Snowball had stayed he would've ruined the farm due to his delusions of grandeur.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: At least compared to Napoleon. While this is Played With as he gives the pigs a bigger meal for themselves (himself included) after their first battle, he seemed to have the other animals' best interests still at heart.
- Spared by the Adaptation: His death is implied in all takes, though Snowball's Chance has him return, having survived his exile by Napoleon's dogs. With Napoleon having since passed away, he takes over, and history repeats.
- The Strategist: His tactical brilliance plays a major role in the victory at the Battle of the Cowshed.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It's unclear if he was killed by Napoleon, or simply run off the farm. The animated film all but states that he was Killed Offscreen.
NapoleonA large boar who runs the farm alongside Snowball after Old Major dies. He begins to usurp the ideals of Animalism for his own ends.
- Adaptational Karma: Practically every adaptation of the book ends with Napoleon's tyranny falling apart and his implied death. This at least comes with a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, Stalin, Napoleon's basis, died before the release of the 1954 animated film, while the Soviet Union his regime was based on had also collapsed by the time of later adaptations.
- The Alcoholic: It's one of the signs that he is becoming more and more like Jones, even selling Boxer so he can buy more liquor.
- Big Bad Slippage: Like the rest of the farm, Napoleon was as a follower of Old Major, but after his death, he began to butt heads with Snowball on what direction to take the farm, until he chases him away with his attack dogs. Napoleon effectively becomes the dictator of Animal Farm from then on, and things only go downhill from there.
- The Caligula: Especially in the 1999 live-action movie, where he ruins his farm through his inept despotism.
- Corrupt Politician: Even before taking absolute power, he promoted his own interests at the expense of the farm's.
- Death by Adaptation: Both the 1954 animated film and 1999 live action film heavily imply he meets his end. The unofficial sequel to the novel Snowball's Chance is even pivoted by Napoleon's death.
- Despotism Justifies the Means: He will stop at nothing to secure his power.
- Dramatic Irony: Before his coup, he's against the windmill believing it to be a waste of time since food production is more vital.
- Evil Overlord: The farm's cruel autocrat.
- FaceHeel Turn: Starts out a decent enough sort, promoting Old Major's doctrine and working for the good of all animals. It doesn't last too long.
- Fangs Are Evil: He has some prominent pointy teeth in the 1954 film, unlike the other animals and even the other pigs.
- Fat Bastard: After his corruption sets in, he gets fatter and fatter.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The 1999 film, due to Adaptation Expansion following the Soviet Union's collapse. The events of book play out, but after that, we see Napoleon's despotic rule leads the farm to just fall apart, with him and his empire shortly gone.
- It's All About Me: Cares only about getting what he wants.
- Jerkass: Comes with being a dictator. He kills other animals trying to lead against him, blames those who escaped his rule for his own mistakes, eats the other animals' food...
- Karma Houdini: Except in the 1954 movie, where he is murdered, and in the 1999 movie, where Animal Farm collapses due to his greed.
- Killed Offscreen: In both films, the end of his rule is confirmed but under ambiguous imagery.
- Manipulative Bastard: While he lets Squealer do most of the talking, he has his own way around words and twisting the rules around to get what he wants. And in the novel, he gets off free because of it.
- Meaningful Name: What better name for a ruthless dictator who usurps his own revolution?
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Represents Joseph Stalin.
- Offscreen Karma: In the 1999 adaptation, after the other animals abandon the farm, we see nothing of Napoleon afterwards. When they return, the farm is in collapse and Napoleon is gone.
- Perpetual Frowner: Has a constant grimace in the 1954 animated film. The only time he's not scowling is when the other animals corner and supposedly kill him.
- Really Gets Around: Sired dozens of piglets. Then again, he's the only "intact" male pig on the farm after Old Major's death and Snowball's exile, so he doesn't have much competition.
- The Sociopath: Imprisons and executes dozens of animals suspected of conspiring against him, exiles Snowball under threat of painful death-by-mauling and takes credit for all his good ideas like the windmill (which is then engineered so only the pigs see the benefits), entrenches himself as the farm's autocrat who is ultimately no different from Jones, and gladly sends Boxer off to the knacker when he's injured and can no longer work...all without a shred of guilt.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Sells Boxer to the knacker, after he worked so hard to feed him.
- Villainous Glutton: He hoards the farm's sweets for himself.
- Villain Protagonist: One could make a case of this, at least in the second half of the novel where it starts to focus a lot more on him and Squealer over anybody else.
- Villainous Valour: He has a few moments of this. For example, when the windmill gets blown up, he's the only animal who doesn't take cover.
- Vocal Evolution: In the 1954 animated film, both he and Snowball share the same voice over, but he starts off with a more nasal snarl to distinguish him from Snowball. During the closing parts of the movie, intentionally or not, he has the exact same voice.
SquealerA small porker who quickly becomes Number Two to Napoleon, and acts as a propagandist for Napoleon's regime.
- Adaptational Karma: Whatever fate Napoleon undergoes in any interpretation, Squealer shares it.
- Catchphrase: "Long Live Napoleon," and "You don't want Jones to come back, do you?"
- Consummate Liar: Towards the end of the story, he is able to convince the animals that Snowball was on the side of humanity all along.
- Dirty Coward: It's heavily implied that he shies away from any fighting. Notably, he's completely unscathed immediately after the Battle of the Windmill, a battle in which nearly everyone on Animal Farm's side - including Napoleon himself - was wounded. The animated film punctuates it by him being the first pig to dive under the table when the animals begin their revolt.
- The Dragon: Though Napoleon has no direct right hand man, Squealer is the closest thing there is to one.
- Eunuchs Are Evil: Orwell calls him a porker, indicating that he was originally raised for...well...pork, and male livestock raised for meat are usually neutered to make them fatter and more docile. In contrast, Orwell refers to elite pigs like Napoleon as boars, which denotes intact male pigs; a typical farm will often keep a few intact male animals of a given species for breeding rather than eating.
- Evil Is Hammy: Has a very shrill voice that is good for attracting an audience, not to mention he's literally a ham.
- Fat Bastard: As with Napoleon.
- Manipulative Bastard: Is very good at convincing the animals that every awful thing Napoleon does is for the farm, and without it, Farmer Jones would come back.
- Mouth of Sauron: An unusual example, since he didn't start as one. However, as Napoleon grows increasingly paranoid, he starts isolating himself from the rest of the animals more and more, with Squealer used as his mouthpiece.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: He is an allegory for propaganda, but he is been compared to Vyacheslav Molotov, Soviet Foreign Minister, and Stalin's Number Two.
- Smug Snake: Especially in the 1999 film, where his Manipulative Bastard ways are much more thinly veiled, knowing his ties with Napoleon means anyone will be intimidated to do as he wishes anyway.
BenjaminA cranky donkey, he is one of the most intelligent animals on the farm, and is very wise to what the pigs are doing to the farm.
- Accomplice by Inaction: In a sense. He's aware of what the pigs are up to and how downhill things will go but we don't see him, outside of the 1954 film, do anything about or, for that matter, try to stir the other animals to rebel. However, he might be a justified case, given what we've seen Napoleon did do to animals he didn't like.
- Adaptation Personality Change: In the original novel, he's very cynical and doesn't do much to contribute to the work the animals have done. In the animated film, he is much more determined and helpful and even leads the animals to rebel against Napoleon and the other pigs. In the live-action film, he is far more calmer and makes several points toward Boxer to not overexert himself.
- Adaptational Heroism: While he's far from a villain in the book, he's content to lay low and conform even after his best friend Boxer dies. He's fully aware of what Napoleon's regime is doing but ultimately does nothing to stop him because he can't be bothered to explain it to the other animals, even Boxer. In the 1954 movie, in response to the same event, he points out to the animals the hypocrisy of the pigs and leads the rebellion at the end that gets Napoleon killed.
- Ascended Extra: In the 1954 film, rather than being a supporting character, he is the protagonist, as it focuses straight onto him, rather than Snowball or Napoleon.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Deconstructed. He's the only who realized what the pigs were up to, but couldn't be bothered to explain it to anyone.
- The Cynic: The setting doesn't give him much to hope for. In fact, it's implied heavily that the main reason he doesn't attempt to stir the rest of the animals to overthrow the pigs is a deep seated belief that the oppression of most animals will just continue, regardless of who's in charge.
- Deadpan Snarker: His response to whether he likes the pig's reign better than Jones'? "Donkeys live very long. You've never seen a dead donkey, have you?"
- Despair Event Horizon: Boxer's death. He was already cynical and devoid of hope beforehand, but his death is just the last straw.
- The Eeyore: He is endlessly dour and morose. He gets bonus points for being a donkey just like the Trope Namer.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He is a one huge crank, but he does care about their equality and extremely caring towards more good-hearted animals on the barn like Boxer. He gets very upset when Boxer is sold to the knacker.
- Long-Lived: "Donkeys live a long time. None of you have ever seen a dead donkey." He's one of the few animals still alive at the end of the story. While Clover was going blind from old age, he just had a few more grey whiskers.
- Only Sane Man: The only one who really understands what Napoleon is doing, but does very little about it.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Two cases:
- When Boxer is being delivered to the knacker, he actually alerts his fellow animals to what's about to happen with a tone of absolute panic in his voice.
- He doesn't read for the other animals but, when Muriel, who has bad eyesight, notices something about the Commandments board, he agrees to read it to her. The text on the board? "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." That is the moment where the animals realize that the sight they had just seen has become the new normal, and that it was too late to do anything about Napoleon's constant abuses of his power.
- Poor Communication Kills: Despite being the only one who understands what the pigs are doing, he doesn't do anything to warn his fellow animals about it or convince them to stop the pigs. By not caring, he ironically, if indirectly, gets Boxer killed and ensures a Full-Circle Revolution happens.
BoxerA very large and powerful draft horse. Though somewhat dim, he is the nicest, most trusting character in the setting. Represents the working class.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Some of Napoleon's guards try to bite into him at one point. Boxer nearly breaks one of the attack dog's backs in retaliation until Napoleon tells him to hold.
- Dumb, but Diligent: Boxer is fully characterized like this, being very simple-minded but extremely dedicated to his work, traits which do not pan out well for him in the society the farm turns into. One of his life mottos is even "I will work harder."
- Gentle Giant: His great size and strength are only matched by his big heart.
- Horrible Judge of Character: He honestly thought Napoleon had his best interests at heart. It costs him his life.
- Kick the Morality Pet: Selling Boxer to a knacker showed just how low Napoleon and the rest of the pigs sunk.
- Nice Guy: He is the nicest, most loyal, and most trusting character on the farm. He's got a big heart and works hard.
- Morality Pet: For Benjamin. He is the only character that Benjamin treats with any kind of respect or care.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Sold to the knacker after a lifetime of working for others.
- The Workaholic: When things start to degenerate on Animal Farm, he resolves to work harder.
- Working Class People Are Morons: He is a sweet fellow, but he allows himself to become a tool to the pigs.
CloverA kindly mare who cares deeply for each animal, and is driven to despair by what she witnesses.
- Break the Cutie: The mass execution shocks her the the very core.
- Nice Girl: Clover is a kind, good-hearted mare who cares deeply about others.
- Nothing Is Scarier: Her reaction towards seeing the pigs act like humans to the point they can't be told apart from them isn't said, so the reader is left to guess it.
- Team Mom: Protects the goslings and cares for Boxer. It helps that she was a mother herself.
MollieA vain, spoiled mare who is more concerned with luxuries than her revolution. Represents the upper classes.
- Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Loves to wear a ribbon in her mane. This puts her at odds with the rest of the animals since Animalism forbids clothing.
- Happiness in Slavery: The only animal to willingly return to the service of humanity, and as far as the other animals can tell quite happy with her lot.
- One-Hour Work Week: Her main job is to pull a cart for Jones and his wife an hour a week.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Leaves the farm so she can go to another and enjoy sugar and ribbons. She was the lucky one.
- The One Who Made It Out: Manages to end up in a better position than any other animal (except the pigs) by the end of the book.
- Unperson: After she leave the farm, the other animals acts like she doesn't exist.
- Upper-Class Twit: Her main concern after the revolution is whether she'll get more sugar- which Snowball has to remind her cannot be made on the farm.
The Other Animals
The DogsThe dogs (Bluebell, Jessie, Pincher, and the pups) that live on the farm
- Adult Fear: When Jessie's puppies are weaned, they are taken away to be raised to be attack dogs by Napoleon. This is amplified to an upsetting degree in the 1999 film, where Jessie asks for her puppies back and gets told, "You wouldn't want to disadvantage your own puppies, would you?" Later in said film, they attack her, not knowing or caring who she is.
- Ascended Extra: In the 1999 film, Jessie takes over Clover's role from the book and the story is told from her view.
- Team Mom: Jessie tying into the above.
- Right-Hand Attack Dog: What the Pigs raise the puppies for. Said puppies are used to assist in public executions.
MosesA raven that shows up mostly to talk about Sugar Candy Mountain.
- Creepy Crows: He plays this role, as, more often than not, he shows up when someone is killed.
- Everyone Has Standards: In the 1954 adaption, he didn't mind seeing Snowball get mauled by dogs but he's horrified when he sees Napoleon order a public execution of innocent animals.
- Rule of Symbolism: His showing up when animals die and reciting things about Sugar Candy Mountain is, apparently, supposed to represent how there was a religious presence in Russia before the time Stalin took over and his following Mr. Jones was how Stalin got rid of (or stifled) religious influence after he took over. His return (in chapter 9) is to represent how Stalin brought back the Russian Orthodox Church.
The SheepA flock of sheep that live on the farm
- Animal Motifs: They serve as this for blind conformity
- Blind Obedience: Being an animal that would serve as motif for blind conformity, they personify this the most, as they don't question anything wrong about the farm, while the other animals have something of a clue.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: This is more emphasized in the 1999 film, where Jessie is the only one who's actually nice to them (complete with not talking down to them), while the other animals, at best, put up with them.
- Gullible Lemmings: They believe and go along with everything the Pigs have to say.
- Hive Mind: Essentially, they're this, as they don't think or act separately
- Too Dumb to Live: While they don't die (from what we can guess, anyway), their limited understanding isn't doing wonders for their potential well-being.
- Undying Loyalty: A deconstruction, as their undying loyalty is blind loyalty, which isn't productive or helpful to them nor the other animals. When the other animals bring up how things are inherently wrong, they just say "Four legs good, two legs bad." or, when the pigs start walking on two legs, they say, ' "Four legs good, two legs better"''.
The HensA group of chickens that join the revolution so they could raise their chicks.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: They smash up their eggs so they can't be used as farm income.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: Why they joined the revolution and it ends with them smashing up their eggs, leaving them without their babies anyhow
MurielAn old goat and one of the few animals who can read (or spell)
- Blind Mistake: Downplayed. Her eyesight isn't great, however, in spite of it, she does notice something off with the board of Animalism Commandments, it's just that she can't read what it is.
- Greater Need Than Mine: In the 1999 film, she wouldn't free herself to get food, however, when she sees her friends almost getting attacked, she breaks free to warn them
The CatA cat who lived on the farm
- Adapted Out: She's not seen in the 1999 film.
- Cats Are Lazy: Unlike the animals, she doesn't seem to do any actual work and spends a lot of time doing whatever, whatever "whatever" so happens to be away from the farm. Likewise, she doesn't participate in the politics of the farm and the one time she did vote she voted on both sides.
- Death by Adaptation: In the 1954 animated film, she's executed alongside some other other animals
- Easily Forgiven: For her laziness, as she, quote, "purred so affectionately that it was impossible not to believe in her good intentions".
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: At some point, she leaves the farm. Before that, she spent much of her time away from the farm post-revolution.
The GanderA gander that lived on the farm
Farmer JonesThe original owner of Manor Farm. His incompetence, inebriation, and cruelty drove his animals to drive him off the farm.
- The Alcoholic: One of the reasons the animals turned against him. In the 1999 film, he's shown abusing Boxer while drunk.
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: The animated movie implies that he accidentally kills himself by staying in the exploding windmill in a drunken stupor.
- Character Death: Dies at a rehab center years after being driven off the farm.
- In the animated film, it is strongly suggested that he blows himself up along with the windmill while drunk.
- Death by Adaptation: In the animated movie, he's all but stated to die in the windmill's explosion. While he does die in the book, it doesn't happen until years later, when he passes away in a rehab facility.
- Dies Differently in Adaptation: His passes away in a rehab facility in the book. In the movie, he blows himself up when destroying the windmill.
- Fascist, but Inefficient: Not only is he a cruel taskmaster, he's bad at his job to boot.
- Freudian Excuse: He was once a prosperous farmer, until a bad lawsuit drove him to the bottle. The live-action film has him facing foreclosure and he's been borrowing money from Mr. Pilkington to stay afloat —- the stress of it all his what drives him to drink.
- Heavy Sleeper: Dozes off and lets his animals starve.
- Humans Are Cthulhu: While his MO is pretty normal for a farmer (killing pigs, sending old horses to the knacker, selling his chickens' eggs), for the animals, it makes him into a beast.
- Lighter and Softer: He's considerably less violent and abrasive in the 1999 film.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: He is an allegory for Tsar Nicholas II.
- Riches to Rags: Again he was a much better farmer in earlier times.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: He doesn't pull this until after the animals boot him off the farm the second time, however, his wife, when seeing the start of the revolution, leaves immediately.
- Too Dumb to Live: In the animated movie; instead of fleeing the scene after lighting the dynamite inside the mill, he starts hitting the bottle again moments before the mill is completely destroyed.
Mr. FrederickThe tough, shrewd operator of Pinchfield, a neighboring farm.
- Adaptational Heroism: The 1999 film portrays him in a more sympathetic light.
- Jerkass: He's described has driving hard bargains and is always suing people.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Represents Adolf Hitler.
Mr. PilkingtonAnother neighboring farmer — a gentleman farmer his farm Foxwood is large, but not well-looked after.
- Lazy Bum: He prefers to spend most of time hunting and fishing rather than farming.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Represents FDR and the rather cynical relationship between the West and USSR.
Mr. WhymperA solicitor who acts as the go-between for Animal Farm and the outside world.
- Amoral Attorney: Zig-zagged. He's only took Napoleon as a client for the money, but he's completely oblivious to the horrors of Napoleon's rule.
- Meaningful Name: "Whymper" to emphasize his subservient nature.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Represents those Westerners who had visited the USSR like George Bernard Shaw.
- Opportunistic Bastard: He knew that Animal Farm would need a broker before anyone else and the commission would be worth having. The animated film takes this up to eleven by making him a shrewd trader instead, who decides to start trading with Animal Farm after he overhears the local farmers discussing how they'll be all be dead by winter since they have no money to buy supplies.
- Rags to Riches: At first his practice isn't very large. By the end he's able to upgrade from a bicycle to a dogcart.