A Character Analysis of Benjamin in Animal Farm

In the allegorical novel Animal Farm, George Orwell utilizes animals to represent human beings or groups in Stalin’s Russian Revolution. A character who is essential to the development of the story is Benjamin, an aged donkey. It is uncertain which group or person in Stalin’s Revolution Benjamin represents. Nevertheless, one theory is that Benjamin is utilized to portray the sceptics living in the revolution, particularly those who do not criticise Stalin’s routine openly. Orwell utilizes Benjamin to represent the sceptics as he is strong minded, yet clever adequate to keep his beliefs low profile so as not to deal with consequences. His interactions with the other animals are usually abrupt and rude and he is not renowned for his hard work. Nevertheless he is appreciated by all the animals. His stubbornness appears throughout the text, and despite his rudeness he is unquestionably devoted and useful to those in requirement.

Throughout the unique, it emerges that Benjamin is a very smart and mentally strong animal. Orwell specifies that Benjamin ‘could check out in addition to any pig’, which right away leads the reader to assume that he is among the, if not the, most intelligent animal on the farm. Nevertheless this is not the only piece of proof that suggests Benjamin is smart or strong minded. He is the only animal on the farm that immediately differentiates his opinion from what the pigs want him to believe. This is revealed through the basic impression of scepticism he originates, this can be inferred from his viewpoints on minor issues on the farm. Benjamin thinks that as far as he knows, ‘there is absolutely nothing worth checking out’ and he also refuses to ‘meddle in such matters’ as reading a rule for Clover, Boxer’s discerning beliefs can be compared to the beliefs of another animal such as Boxer, who wants to commit his entire life after retirement to finding out and studying the ‘remaining twenty-two letters of the alphabet’. Through his capability to withstand the ‘propaganda’ spread out by the pigs, particularly Squealer., Benjamin’s psychological strength is revealed. Another screen of Benjamin’s intelligence is revealed by his method to his beliefs mentioned above. Not just does he have the psychological strength to formulate these views but he has the intelligence to not boast about what he thinks. Orwell lets the reader presume that Benjamin keeps his beliefs and scepticism low profile around the farm. As readers, we can make this conclusion as we never hear his beliefs talked to a big audience or to many people– they are constantly phrases whispered by Benjamin under his breath to other trusted animals. He acts in this manner for he knows that if he spreads out or publicises his beliefs he will be killed, much like the hens who were starved to death after their disobedience in protest of Napoleon wanting to offer their spring eggs. All these functions of Benjamin’s character can be drawn back to the characters Benjamin represents from Stalinist Russia. These peaceful sceptics were not dragged into the vortex of propaganda, they had the psychological strength to forge their own opinions and constantly avoided problem by keeping their viewpoints low profile. As it is now clear, Benjamin’s intelligence and psychological strength are created to represent the sceptics from this age.

Benjamin’s interactions with animals also offers us an insight into his attributes and their parallels with the sceptics of Stalinist Russia. We can establish two major characteristics from viewing Benjamin’s interactions: mysteriousness and unearned regard. Orwell leads us to make the conclusion that Benjamin is a reputable animal by eluding to his seniority. On the very first page he specifies that Benjamin is ‘the earliest animal on the farm’. Immediately Benjamin is seen as a senior figure, and with seniority comes a kind of respect. Another example of Orwell presuming the mutual regard which the Animals have for Benjamin is in the way that other animals aim to him for assistance. An example of this is Clover immediately relying on Boxer to assist her in reading the rules. The reader is welcomed to conclude that the animals worth Benjamin, this worth puts him a position of natural leadership, albeit an unwanted, and rather potentially an undeserved one. With this management comes the animals regard. Benjamin is likewise a mystical figure. he keeps primarily to himself throughout the entire text, nevertheless he still forms really strong viewpoints. It is clear that Benjamin does have strong preferences. However when he is asked to choose either Snowball or Napoleon to lead Animal Farm he ‘did not side with either faction’ and picked to stay objective. This act of indifference could be seen as an indication of disobedience– through saying absolutely nothing he is making the biggest statement. It is also the only sign of rebellion that is not understood and stopped by the pigs. These acts contributes to Benjamin’s mysterious figure as they separate him from the rest of the animals. The exact same can be said for the sceptics from Stalinist Russia. Their mystery around their lives are what separate them from the working class and earn them the respect of individuals around them. This is another example of how Benjamin’s characteristics can be utilized to relate him back to the sceptics of the Russian Transformation.

Benjamin is a donkey of mixed feelings, he is incredibly persistent, yet shows uncompromising commitment and helpfulness to those in requirement. This shows that although Benjamin might often be self-indulgent, at heart he desires the best for others as well. The quality of stubbornness can be linked to Benjamin by evaluating his quotes. On numerous celebrations he says that ‘Donkeys live a very long time. None of you has actually ever seen a dead donkey.’ This cryptic remark leaves the animals puzzled, but he continues with this remark. Through this quote we can presume that Benjamin is a single minded character who might be perceived to be stuck in his methods. The repetition of this quote recommends that he just sees things a certain way and does not wish to alter his views. His physical look also relates him to stubbornness. Mules, which are descendants of donkeys are notoriously persistent. Benjamin’s commitment is an unexpected quality to attribute to such a relatively rude animal. When boxer is hurt after the second fight with the people, he looks after him and is by his side. He also risks his life for his good friend Boxer when Boxer is being eliminated in a horse slaughterer van. As quickly as he comprehends what the pigs have prepared for fighter he signals the other animals, in the process giving the pigs all the reason they need to perform him. Through these acts the reader presumes that Benjamin looks after his fellow animals and although at times seeming spiteful, he has their best interests at heart. These qualities can be related back to the sceptics in Stalin’s era through the single-mindedness these sceptics would have only had their beliefs and would not have led anything or body change their views. He likewise can be loyal and taking care of his fellow ‘pals’ to keep them on his side and to maintain friends in an age where is was so easy to have opponents.

To conclude, the text Animal Farm is one which is dependent on the understanding of the characters. Benjamin shows to be a persistent animal who is single minded yet intelligent. He is a mystical character who acquires a position of respect and management amongst his peers. Benjamin’s attributes integrate to depict the sceptics of Stalinist Russia

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