Discuss the Role of Benjamin and the Sheep in Animal Farm

Topics: Animal Farm, Pessimism, Novel Pages: 5 (2060 words) Published: March 24, 2013
Discuss the role of Benjamin and the Sheep.

In the novel ‘Animal Farm’ written by George Orwell both Benjamin the donkey and the sheep are introduced on page two, “Benjamin was the oldest animal on the farm, and the worst tempered” and “the sheep and cows lay down behind the pigs.” This is the first introduction of the animals on the farm and it immediately gives the reader an indication about how important they will be in the novel as the sheep have not even been described all the reader knows is where they lay and gives the reader an idea on their status compared to the other animals. Benjamin’s next appearance is on page eighteen when he expresses his attitude towards the rebellion, “about the rebellion and its results he would express no opinion”. This tells the audience that Benjamin is a bad “tempered” character but not this it hints to the reader that he has a pessimistic attitude towards life. Benjamin is very important in terms of his opinions towards the rebellion as he helps to foreshadow the rebellion reverting backwards as “donkeys live a long time.” This tells the reader that he has seen it all happen before and that nothing every stays right for long. Despite Benjamin being a miserable character, he still fought in the batter of the cowshed, "Snowball now launched his second line of attack. Muriel, Benjamin and all the sheep". This shows how Benjamin just does what he is told, and that he isn't an argumentative character this could be because of his cynic attitude as he knows everything is going to go wrong anyway because "donkeys live a long time". This helps the audience to question whether or not the rebellion will be successful or not as Benjamin is always used to help lower the optimism of the animals throughout the book. Benjamin and the sheep show a good contrast as they are both very similar in the ways that they are controlled and ordered. However the sheep do not have the knowledge which Benjamin knows as they have not seen things come and go. The sheep are in the same line of attack as Benjamin and I think this shows that the animals in this line of attack are very similar. This infers to the reader that if the rebellion was to revert backwards they would all be equally powerless and hopeless. Benjamin’s cynic attitude is maintained throughout the novel and is again shown to be a miserable character, “only old Benjamin refused to grow enthusiastic about the windmill, though as usual, he would utter nothing beyond a cryptic remark that donkeys live a long time”. This was said on page forty three and it reminds the reader about the possibility of the windmill going wrong and this is playing a big role in the prefiguring of the windmill failing to be built successfully as he has seen many things go wrong in his lifetime. Even thought Benjamin is the “worst tempered” animal on the farm he still shows a lot of affection towards Boxer, “without openly admitting it, he was devoted to Boxer.” This was said in his character description on page two and it helps to show Benjamin as a human and it makes the audience think about him in society and the impact that he has. By looking at him like this we are able to start to understand the lack of power these animals have compared to the other human beings in society. This plays a huge role in our understanding of status and higherarky around the farm as we are able to interpret the farm animals as human beings. Benjamin is character that does not like to get involve because he knows something is always going to go wrong, “Clover asked Benjamin to read her the sixth commandment, and when Benjamin, as usual, said that he refused to meddle in such matters.” This was said on page fifty-six and it shows Benjamin’s pessimistic attitude as he does not want to take any interest into what is going on around him as he knows what is eventually going to happen through his life experiences. Benjamin can sometimes come across as a smug character due to his knowledge...
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