Benjamin the donkey is one of the oldest animals on Animal Farm. He is also one of the very few who are alive from the beginning of the book to the end. He is a very cynical and pessimistic character. He never laughs, and he doesn't believe that either Rebellion or the building of the windmill will improve the animals' lives at all. He is very intelligent and can read just as well as or better than the other animals on the farm. He is said to represent the old men and the Mensheviks of Russia during Stalin's reign. Although Benjamin seems uncaring about some matters, and even a little harsh sometimes, he is "devoted" to Boxer, one of the cart horses. Benjamin is worried after Boxer's fall, and he stays with him to keep the flies off of him. Benjamin chases desperately after the slaughterer's van that takes Boxer away, and after Boxer's death, Benjamin is even sadder and more pessimistic than before. He is the only animal who understands when Squealer is caught changing one of the Seven Commandments. He is also the only one who understands when Boxer is being taken to "the knackers" to be turned into glue, and he doesn't believe it when Squealer tells them that Boxer died peacefully in the hospital. Benjamin is clearly one of the smartest, wisest animals on the farm, but he still doesn't find reason to rebel against Napoleon. He feels that no matter what the animals do, life will "go on as it had always gone on--that is, badly."

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