The pigs formulate a rudimentary constitution by condensing the tenets of Animalism into Seven Commandments. Animalism is a doctrine centering on freedom and liberation, and especially on resisting human tyranny. Most of the animals on the farm become involved with the revolution and support it directly or indirectly.
Animals like Boxer the horse especially toil for the common good of the farm. A pro-labor worker ethic becomes the core philosophy of Animal Farm. Fellow Animal Farm residents refer to each other as "comrades" in direct reference to the communist revolution. The animals' solidarity proves strong, at least on a military front because they stave off Mr. Jones' attempt to take back the farm in the Battle of the Cowshed. Moreover, the Animal Farm leaders present their community as a nation-state using symbols like the flag and Mr. Jones' rifle. Community meetings are regular like parliament or congress.
However, the animals struggle with leadership conflicts and political issues that eventually tear apart the community. The power struggle between two pigs: Snowball and Napoleon, comes to a head when Napoleon disagrees with Snowball's suggestion to build an electricity generator. Differences among the diverse animal community exacerbate the power struggles between Snowball and Napoleon. Snowball's emphasis on education, letters, and learning is stymied when he realizes that not all the animals are capable of literacy. Thus, he must distill Animalism's tenets into a more digestible format. Napoleon relies more on his charisma as well as deceit and brute force.
Having trained a litter of puppies to serve his needs as a personal army, Napoleon eventually turns on Snowball. He and his army of puppies chases Snowball from Animal Farm and thus Napoleon solidifies his political power. The event was effectively a military coup. By that time, Napoleon enjoyed a sufficient amount of support from fellow farm animals especially Squealer and Boxer. Squealer and Boxer stick up for Napoleon and thereby garner more support for the increasingly corrupt leader.
Napoleon eventually sacrifices the tenets of animalism to serve his own ends. He starts trading with human beings. Animal Farm practically becomes a labor camp. Eventually Napoleon steals Snowball's idea to build a windmill to generate electricity: a plan that Napoleon criticized earlier. After a storm devastates the windmill project, Napoleon accuses the exiled Snowball of sabotaging the project. Although Snowball was guilty of sabotage, Napoleon is by far the greater tyrant. He uses his army of dogs to maintain power over the animals. He develops a cult-like following. He strays farther and farther from the core tenets of Animalism. Eventually the power struggle totally tears apart Animal Farm. Napoleon and the other pigs basically transform into the very things they despised to begin with: tyrannical two-legged creatures.
Orwell's novel uses the metaphor of an animal farm to describe the nature of political corruption in human societies. The intelligent, anthropomorphized animals in Animal Farm start off with high ideals. Those ideals are transformed into a cult-like political ideology emphasizing communality and hard work. The principles of Animalism also centered on the concept of liberation: mainly liberation from human oppression. Thus, the plight of the animals reflects the struggle of all oppressed communities to assert their independence.
Leaders of the new community at Animal Farm were not democratically elected but they were charismatic enough to gain an almost undisputed following. Snowball and Napoleon represent the dual poles of revolution: idealism and corruption. Snowball's idealism becomes tainted by personal power struggles instead of worked into a viable program for success. Napoleon's egotism runs amok, devastating the hard work accomplished by all the animals on the farm. Orwell shows how political power corrupts when it is unchecked.
Animal Farm is most notably a metaphor for the communist revolution. Marx's ideals were painfully distorted by the politicians that championed them. Just as dictators like Stalin distorted Marx's doctrine, so too did Napoleon and to a lesser degree Snowball distort Old Major's ideals. The animals did not remain dedicated to the tenets of animalism. Some like Napoleon became consumed with a desire for personal power. Others, like Boxer and Squealer grew ignorant of the ways power was corrupting the leaders they so wholeheartedly supported. Although powerfully pessimistic about human nature, Orwell's novel does suggest ways human beings can avoid the pitfalls of social and political…