Benjamin Character Description and Analysis

Animal Farm Benjamin
Animal Farm Benjamin - The only donkey and the oldest animal on the farm. He is "worse tempered" and rarely talks. / Image ©

Benjamin is the only donkey amongst the animals, and he is also the oldest animal on the farm at the beginning of the story and he clearly remains so at the end of the novella. Additionally, he’s the “worse tempered” and rarely talks, generally only for cynical remarks. However, he was close to Boxer. They may not have really spoken, but the two spent much of every Sunday grazing side by side. Additionally, Benjamin teamed up with Clover late in the story, asking Boxer to work less in his older age so that he doesn’t overdo it.

Interestingly, Benjamin was not mentioned again after his introduction until after the Rebellion had taken place. However, even the Rebellion was not enough to change him. He continued putting in the same amount of work with the same lack of enthusiasm that he had before.

However, Benjamin may have been the smartest one on the farm except for maybe the pigs. He knew from the get-go that the Rebellion was not going to really change anything in the long run. When Snowball and Napoleon were arguing about whether the animals should focus on food or the windmill, Benjamin was the only one to not pick a side, figuring that it didn’t really matter in the end. They would continue to not have all that much food, and a completed windmill would not provide them with more time to relax.

Benjamin wanted to stay out of the political happenings of Animal Farm so much that he even refused to read one of the commandments when requested to do so by Clover. However, at the very end, he finally complied with one of Clover’s requests and read the rewritten commandment about some animals being “more equal” than others. Of course, Muriel, who had been the one to read those for Clover, having died by that point might have played a role in his decision.

Benjamin’s friendship with Boxer was also apparent during Boxer’s final days. He quickly galloped when he went to inform the others that Boxer was being taken away, and he desperately communicated to them that the side of the van taking him away said, “Horse Slaughterer.” After Boxer left, never to be seen again, Benjamin became “more morose and taciturn than ever.”

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