Inform, animate, inspire, fire are comparable when they mean to infuse (a person or thing) with something (as a spirit, a principle, an idea, or a passion) that gives him or it effective power or an urge to action or activity. Sometimes, especially in the last three words, the idea of driving or actuating is so strong that it becomes their common denotation and the idea of infusion is merely a common connotation.
To inform is to give character or essence to or to so permeate as to become the characteristic, peculiar, essential, and often abiding, quality of.
To animate is to endow with life, a vital principle, or an impulse to action. Although animate is often used where inform is also possible, it suggests, far more than inform , vitality and living energy. When what is affected is a person or when motivation of action or transiency of impulse is to be implied, animate is the more precise word.
To inspire is to communicate to a person, as if by breathing into him, power or energy in excess of what he believes to be his own. The word usually implies both the operation of a supernatural power or of some inexplicable agency and such an effect as a spiritual illumination, or a quickening of intellectual or imaginative activity, or an exaltation of feeling.
Inspire may also imply indirect rather than inexplicable influence, methods, or source (as in imparting knowledge or arousing a feeling.
To fire is to animate or inspire so powerfully that one is inflamed with passion, ardor, or enthusiasm.