"The oldest animal on the farm, and the worst tempered," Old Benjamin is a stubborn donkey. Intelligent but cynical about nearly all things in life, and especially the animal revolt, Benjamin represents qualities that author George Orwell displayed himself: misanthropic intellectualism. Benjamin can read "as well as any pig," but he sees little sense in doing so. Though he admires Boxer's hard work and considers him a friend, Benjamin rarely shows it except when Boxer is hauled away to the horse-slaughterer; Benjamin is the only animal who recognizes where Boxer is being taken, and he runs after the vehicle in the hope of saving his friend. It is too little, too late, however. Benjamin alone remains neutral concerning the leadership struggle between Snowball and Napoleon, and he maintains a negative outlook about change, believing that food will not be more plentiful--with or without the proposed windmill. In the end, Benjamin is the only animal who can remember all aspects of life before and after the animal revolution, assuring the animals that they would always suffer from
... hunger, hardship, and disappointment being, so he said, the unalterable law of life.