Animal Farm

by: George Orwell

Antagonist

The animals’ antagonist is the corrupting reality of political power. This abstract idea is embodied by the different characters who wield power at different times. At first, the corruption of political power is embodied in the cruel, lazy Mr. Jones. When Mr. Jones is defeated, the Farm’s new rulers, the pigs, gradually come to embody the reality of political power. Now it is the pigs who oppose the animals, in exactly the same way as Jones did, by exploiting and oppressing them. From the beginning of the novella, the animals’ defeat by the power embodied in the pigs is heavily foreshadowed. Much of the novella’s drama arises from the question of whether, and when, the animals will recognize that their true antagonist is not humans or pigs but power itself. The moment of reckoning comes in the novel’s final scene, when the animals see that the pigs and the humans are exactly alike, because they are equally corrupted by political power.