While Jones’ tyranny can be somewhat excused due to the fact that he is a dull-witted drunkard, Napoleon’s can only be ascribed to his blatant lust for power. The very first description of Napoleon presents him as a “fierce-looking” boar “with a reputation for getting his own way.” Throughout the novel, Napoleon’s method of “getting his own way” involves a combination of propaganda and terror that none of the animals can resist. Note that as soon as the revolution is won, Napoleon’s first action is to steal the cows’ milk for the pigs. Clearly, the words of old Major inspired Napoleon not to fight against tyranny, but to seize the opportunity to establish himself as a dictator. The many crimes he commits against his own comrades range from seizing nine puppies to “educate” them as his band of killer guard dogs to forcing confessions from innocent animals and then having them killed before all the animals’ eyes.
Napoleon’s greatest crime, however, is his complete transformation into Jones — although Napoleon is a much more harsh and stern master than the reader is led to believe Jones ever was. By the end of the novel, Napoleon is sleeping in Jones’ bed, eating from Jones’ plate, drinking alcohol, wearing a derby hat, walking on two legs, trading with humans, and sharing a toast with Mr. Pilkington. His final act of propaganda — changing the Seventh Commandment to “ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL / BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS” — reflects his unchallenged belief that he belongs in complete control of the farm. His restoration of the name Manor Farm shows just how much Napoleon has wholly disregarded the words of old Major.