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A Character Analysis of Benjamin in Animal Farm
Throughout the novel, it becomes apparent that Benjamin is an really intelligent and mentally strong animal. Orwell states that Benjamin ‘could read as well as any pig’, which right away leads the reader to assume that he is one of the, if not the, smartest animal on the farm. However this is not the only piece of proof that suggests Benjamin is intelligent or strong minded. He is the only animal on the farm that instantly differentiates his opinion from what the pigs want him to believe. This is shown by way of the basic impression of scepticism he emanates, this can be inferred from his opinions on minor concerns on the farm. Benjamin believes that as far as he knows, ‘there is nothing worth reading’ and he also refuses to ‘meddle in such matters’ as reading a commandment for Clover, Boxer’s discerning beliefs can be compared to the beliefs of one more animal such as Boxer, who is prepared to devote his whole life after retirement to studying and studying the ‘remaining twenty-two letters of the alphabet’. Through his capability to resist the ‘propaganda’ spread by the pigs, specifically Squealer., Benjamin’s mental strength is shown. Yet another show of Benjamin’s intelligence is shown by his approach to his beliefs mentioned above. Not only does he have the mental strength to formulate these views but he has the intelligence to not boast about what he believes. Orwell lets the reader infer that Benjamin keeps his beliefs and scepticism low profile about the farm. As readers, we can make this conclusion as we in no way hear his beliefs spoken to a massive audience or to numerous men and women – they are always phrases muttered by Benjamin beneath his breath to other trusted animals. He acts in this manner for he knows that if he spreads or publicises his beliefs he will be killed, just like the hens who had been starved to death right after their rebellion in protest of Napoleon wanting to sell their spring eggs. All these functions of Benjamin’s personality can be drawn back to the characters Benjamin represents from Stalinist Russia. These quiet sceptics had been not dragged into the vortex of propaganda, they had the mental strength to forge their personal opinions and consistently avoided problems by maintaining their opinions low profile. As it is now clear, Benjamin’s intelligence and mental strength are made to represent the sceptics from this era.
Benjamin’s interactions with animals also offers us an insight into his traits and their parallels with the sceptics of Stalinist Russia. We can ascertain two major traits from viewing Benjamin’s interactions: mysteriousness and unearned respect. Orwell leads us to make the conclusion that Benjamin is a respected animal by eluding to his seniority. On the initial web page he states that Benjamin is ‘the oldest animal on the farm’. Quickly Benjamin is seen as a senior figure, and with seniority comes a kind of respect. Another example of Orwell inferring the mutual respect which the Animals have for Benjamin is in the way that other animals look to him for assistance. An instance of this is Clover instantly turning to Boxer to assist her in reading the commandments. The reader is invited to conclude that the animals worth Benjamin, this value puts him a position of natural leadership, albeit an unwanted, and quite possibly an undeserved 1. With this leadership comes the animals respect. Benjamin is also a mysterious figure. he keeps mostly to himself throughout the whole text, nonetheless he still forms extremely strong opinions. It is clear that Benjamin does have powerful preferences. Nevertheless when he is asked to vote for either Snowball or Napoleon to lead Animal Farm he ‘did not side with either faction’ and chose to stay impartial. This act of indifference could be seen as a sign of rebellion – by way of saying nothing he is making the most significant statement. It is also the only sign of rebellion that is not realised and stopped by the pigs. These acts adds to Benjamin’s mysterious figure as they separate him from the rest of the animals. The exact same can be mentioned for the sceptics from Stalinist Russia. Their mystery about their lives are what separate them from the working class and earn them the respect of the individuals around them. This is one more example of how Benjamin’s traits can be used to relate him back to the sceptics of the Russian Revolution.
Benjamin is a donkey of mixed emotions, he is very stubborn, but shows uncompromising loyalty and helpfulness to these in require. This shows that even though Benjamin could at times be self-centered, at heart he desires the best for others as effectively. The top quality of stubbornness can be linked to Benjamin by analysing his quotes. On numerous occasions he says that ‘Donkeys reside a long time. None of you has ever observed a dead donkey.’ This cryptic remark leaves the animals puzzled, but he continues with this remark. By means of this quote we can infer that Benjamin is a single minded character who could be perceived to be stuck in his approaches. The repetition of this quote suggests that he only sees items a specific way and does not want to change his views. His physical appearance also relates him to stubbornness. Mules, which are descendants of donkeys are notoriously stubborn. Benjamin’s loyalty is a surprising good quality to attribute to such a seemingly rude animal. When boxer is injured following the second battle with the humans, he cares for him and is by his side. He also risks his life for his friend Boxer when Boxer is getting taken away in a horse slaughterer van. As quickly as he understands what the pigs have planned for boxer he alerts the other animals, in the procedure giving the pigs all the reason they need to execute him. Through these acts the reader infers that Benjamin cares for his fellow animals and although at times seeming spiteful, he has their greatest interests at heart. These qualities can be connected back to the sceptics in Stalin’s era by means of the single-mindedness these sceptics would have only had their beliefs and would not have led anything or body alter their views. He also can be loyal and caring for his fellow ‘comrades’ to keep them on his side and to retain pals in an era exactly where is was so simple to have enemies.
To conclude, the text Animal Farm is one which is dependent on the understanding of the characters. Benjamin proves to be a stubborn animal who is single minded yet intelligent. He is a mysterious character who gains a position of respect and leadership amongst his peers. Benjamin’s characteristics combine to portray the sceptics of Stalinist Russia
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