An elder swine, Old Major is the founding father of Animalism. It is through his teachings that the other farm animals decide to revolt. A prize pig, Old Major has lead a life of privilege and has acquired noble status amongst the others. It is this status, and life of leisure, that has allowed him the time necessary to develop a full understanding of the depths of the exploitation that animals experience at the hands of mankind. Old Major’s dying speech inspires the animal revolution. He symbolizes the forefathers of communism, Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin.
A member of the pigs, and a disciple of Old Major. Napoleon is described as a ‘fierce looking Berkshire boar.’ Unlike Snowball, Napoleon craves power. He is shrewd, cowardly, evil and extremely selfish. Despite having completely supported the revolution, Napoleon is much more interested in taking a position of power for himself. It is this thirst for power that causes to construct a totalitarianism government – ripe with terror and lies. A government that is considerably more evil than Mr. Jones ever was. He symbolizes Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union from 1930 to 1953.
Another disciple of Old Major. Snowball is said to be much more capable and intelligent than Napoleon, however, is less interest in control. Snowball appreciates the idea of the revolution and what it stands for, however, there are times where he appears to be willing to disobey the concept of animal equality in order to make his own life more comfortable. When all is said and done, Snowball is unable to stand up to Napoleon.
Another member of the pigs, Squealer is a born speaker. He puts his own interests well above those of the other animals. Whenever any of the pigs go against the animal commandments, Squealer does his best to convince the other animals that the pigs have the best interest of the animals at heart.
Indicative of the working class, Boxer is honorable and strong. However, he is not the smartest animal on the farm. He believes strongly in the revolution and everything it stands for – so much so that he is willing to support Napoleon without question. He is often heard saying ‘Napoleon is always right.” Boxer has the brute force to overthrow Napoleon but chooses to blindly follow him because he is unable to see that they are under a dictatorship. Boxer supports Napoleon with everything that he has in him, yet in the end, Napoleon sends him to a glue factory.
The most motherly of the bunch, she is a gentle soul who believes in the revolution. However, she soon begins to question Napoleon’s motives, but never stands up to him. Despite witnessing the totalitarian environment the pigs have created, she fails to understand that anything is wrong.
Benjamin is a donkey with a skeptical outlook on life. He believes that life will always be painful and difficult. He is not shocked when the pigs tarnish the revolution and destroy Animal Farm. Even though his skepticism proves true, it also renders him powerless. He understands what is happening yet does nothing to stop it. He feels extreme guilt when Boxer, one of his closest friends, is killed.