A donkey. Guided by a skeptical philosophy that life will always be difficult and painful, Benjamin is not surprised when the pigs corrupt the revolution and transform Animal Farm into a totalitarian state. Though Benjamin's skepticism proves to be correct, it also makes him powerless. Alone among the other animals, Benjamin seems to understand what's going on, but he does nothing to stop it. In the end, his inaction comes back to haunt him when his dear friend Boxer is betrayed and killed. Benjamin represents those who were aware of Stalin's unjust and oppressive policies but did nothing to try to stop them.
The Animal Farm quotes below are all either spoken by Benjamin or refer to Benjamin. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet Classics edition of Animal Farm published in 1996.).
Chapter 8 Quotes
At the foot of the end wall of the big barn, where the Seven Commandments were written, there lay a ladder broken in two pieces. Squealer, temporarily stunned, was sprawling beside it, and near at hand there lay a lantern, a paint-brush, and an overturned pot of white paint. None of the animals could form any idea as to what this meant, except old Benjamin, who nodded his muzzle with a knowing air, and seemed to understand, but would say nothing.
The timeline below shows where the character Benjamin appears in Animal Farm. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...motherly Clover who lets some orphaned ducklings shelter between her legs; Muriel the goat and Benjamin the donkey; Mollie, a white horse showing off the red ribbons in her hair; and... (full context)
...animals take sides: some support Snowball's windmill, while others favor Napoleon and food production. Only Benjamin refuses to join sides, observing that no matter who wins, life will go on as... (full context)
...fallen ladder and a bucket of white paint beneath the commandments written on the barn. Benjamin seems to understand what's happened, but refuses to say. Muriel later discovers that she's misremembered... (full context)