An Analysis of the Roles of the Old Major and Benjamin in “Animal Farm”

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An Analysis of the Roles of the Old Major and Benjamin in “Animal Farm”

This essay examines the roles and symbolism of Old Major and Benjamin in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” It will explore how Old Major’s character ignites the spark of rebellion with his ideology, while Benjamin’s cynicism represents skepticism and passive resistance. The piece will analyze their influence on the other animals and the overarching narrative, considering how these characters reflect different aspects of society and revolution. This essay aims to offer insights into Orwell’s critique of political movements and societal dynamics through these pivotal characters. PapersOwl showcases more free essays that are examples of Animal Farm.

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Old Major was a stout-looking boar of twelve years of age. He was wise and benevolent. He was highly regarded by the other animals on the farm.

It was Old Major who, one night, dreamt of a world where all animals were equal and Man was no more. He shared his dream and visions with the animals. If Man were removed from the scene, the cause of hunger and overwork would be abolished. He delivered the message of rebellion to the animals.

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Since all the animals looked up to and honored Old Major, they took his words to heart. It was also Old Major who taught the song ‘Beast of England,’ which was sung and remembered by the animals throughout the story.

Even though Old Major dies within a short time of his presence in the story, he leaves a very big and deep impression throughout. His speeches and teachings gave the animals on the farm a new and deeper outlook on life. An important factor was that he did not use any elements of terror or play on the animals’ fears to get them to listen. He was one of the influential characters of the story, and it was he who brought about the idea of the animal revolution.

Benjamin, the donkey, was the oldest animal on the farm. He seldom talked and was reputed for being cynical. He was alone most of the time and was devoted to Boxer, the horse.

Benjamin was one of the few animals that remained unchanged after the rebellion took place. He did his work all right, never shirking but also never volunteering for extra work. Benjamin was also among the cleverer animals, as he knew how to read and seemed able to predict the future. Benjamin also noticed the gradual changes in the principles of Animal Farm. He knew and understood Napoleon’s plans but unfortunately did not voice his knowledge. If he had, Animal Farm may not have been dominated by the pigs.

Benjamin gives the impression of people who are reserved and quiet but possess knowledge that many do not have. He could have been more powerful and influential than the pigs, but he kept to the shadows and did not seek to be in the limelight. His character was a solemn one, but I found him to be a character that I respect. Amid all the confusion, prejudices, and talks, he stood his ground and believed in no one but himself. It is this side of his character which I respect. He was not influenced by anyone.

As for the importance of either character in the story, I believe that Benjamin’s character is more important than Old Major’s. Although some may argue that Old Major is a more important character, he was idealistic and not practical. I feel that Benjamin’s character creates interest in the readers. He arouses emotions in readers (such as anger, irritation, relief, and horror) and keeps us guessing – whether he will voice out his views and shut the pigs up. Our blood pressure rises as he races to save Boxer. If not for him, the animals would not learn the truth of the pigs’ cunningness, though the revelation only makes him sadder. So, he is more important than Old Major.

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An analysis of the Roles of the Old Major and Benjamin in "Animal Farm". (2023, Feb 08). Retrieved from