Benjamin is the old, irritable donkey who doesn't care who's in control, because he says that work will be the same either way. He is one of the few on the farm who can read, and who still remembers the original commandments. He has an unlikely friendship with Boxer as well. Does Benjamin's character represent a real figure, person, or group of people?

  • It's been suggested that he represents Orwell himself, but I don't have a reference.
    – Gaurav
    Jan 18, 2017 at 20:56
  • I always thought that he symbolises an arm-chair intellectual cynic, who thinks that everything is going down the drain. Sep 8, 2018 at 7:00

3 Answers 3


It's unknown for sure, but it most likely refers to either:

  • The Mensheviks, a non-communist party in Russia, because he's another viewpoint from the pigs but is mostly ignored.

  • He also could be the older population of Russia, because he is old and skeptical.

  • He could also just be the skeptical people, who don't believe communism will really help them much.

  • He could be the Jews, who weren't helped really at all by communism.

  • Finally, he could be Orwell (inserted into the story, not really fitting the allegory). Just along for the ride, not really in favor of communism/the pigs either.


As an allegory, Benjamin represents the average bystander. (Quote: "life will go as it always goes—that is, badly.")

He knows what it was like with Jones and comes to the conclusion that no matter who is in charge or what changes are made at the farm, it will remain an unpleasant place to be. He also knows of all the injustices occurring on Animal/Manor Farm, but doesn't find it significant enough to address until he sees his only comrade, Boxer, be sent to his death, and therefore regrets his silence.


Benjamin could be represented as a bystander. He doesn't get affected by any of the changes Napoleon makes. He is just there in the middle.

  • 2
    Yes, a bystander, but anything more specific? E.g. any figure or group during the Russian Revolution?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Dec 11, 2019 at 7:38

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