In George Orwell’s allegorical novella “Animal Farm,” Benjamin is characterized as a donkey. He stands out as one of the more enigmatic and intriguing characters in the story. Contrasting with other animals on the farm, Benjamin is deeply cynical, skeptical, and not easily swayed by propaganda or lofty speeches. He possesses an innate ability to see through the falsehoods propagated by the pigs, but he chooses to remain mostly silent and aloof, rarely voicing his insights or concerns.
Benjamin’s age grants him wisdom, making him one of the oldest animals on the farm. His long life has given him a perspective that younger animals lack. His recurrent statement, “Donkeys live a long time,” reflects his stoic and patient demeanor. While he watches the shifting political dynamics of the farm with an understanding eye, he seldom intervenes in any of the unfolding events.
His friendship with Boxer, the loyal and hardworking horse, is one of the few things that genuinely seems to affect him. Benjamin cares deeply for Boxer, and it is one of the few instances where he displays open emotion, particularly when Boxer faces betrayal by the very leaders he served with unwavering dedication.
Benjamin’s character in “Animal Farm” serves to remind readers of the dangers of apathy and the consequences of remaining silent in the face of injustice. He represents the individuals in society who recognize corruption and tyranny but feel powerless or too disillusioned to take action against it.