Most of George Orwell's characters in Animal Farm represent real people who were involved in the Russian Revolution, but not Muriel. Muriel, a white goat, was a real animal kept by Orwell on his own farm, so he borrowed the name for the character of the well-read goat. Muriel was one of the better readers of the animals,
... and sometimes used to read to the others in the evenings from scraps of newspapers she found on the rubbish heap.
She was one of the animals in the "second line of attack" in the Battle of the Cowshed, and she often worked with Old Benjamin to haul off rocks during the construction of the windmill. Muriel was the first to question why Beasts of England had been abolished. Muriel paid close attention to the ever-changing commandments painted on the side of the barn, and it was she who usually informed the other animals of the new variations. Muriel did not live to see the farm returned to its original name; she had died by Chapter X.