Muriel in Animal Farm: Character, Allegory & Analysis

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  • 0:03 Intelligent
  • 0:38 Dependable
  • 0:59 Unsure of Herself
  • 1:47 Helpless
  • 2:10 Symbolism and Analysis
  • 2:44 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell, Muriel the goat is a character who is smart enough to play a major role but allows herself to fade into the background. In this lesson, we'll learn more about Muriel.


Think of someone you know who is smart, ethical, and hardworking but does not have the capacity to lead others or make changes. On Animal Farm, that is Muriel. Muriel is the white goat that lives on the farm. She is one of the more intelligent animals as she is able to read. Only the pigs and Benjamin, the donkey, read better than she does. However, she either does not comprehend the gravity of the situation or she chooses not to act on the things she learns. Let's learn more about Muriel from George Orwell's Animal Farm.


Muriel always does her share of the work and can be depended on in battle to do what she can. She is not the strongest or most dynamic animal, but she is solid. Clover, the cart horse, suspects that the Seven Commandments the animals agreed upon as the basis for Animalism are changing, but she's unable to read; Benjamin refuses to get involved, so she turns to Muriel.

Unsure of Herself

Muriel reads the altered Commandments; the Commandment that 'No animal shall sleep in a bed' has been changed to 'No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.' She and Clover seem to accept that it's their memories that are faulty rather than the reality of the pigs not following the agreed-upon rules.

Learning about Napoleon's decision to ban Beasts of England, the anthem that united the animals to rebellion, Muriel asks, 'Why?' but she does not argue when she is told that the song has outlived its purpose.

She stands by as 'No animal shall kill any other animal' is changed to 'No animal shall kill any other animal without cause.' Muriel seems to clue into what's happening on Animal Farm when 'No animal shall drink alcohol' is changed to 'No animal shall drink alcohol to excess.'


At the point when Boxer, the hardest working animal on the farm, is sold to the glue factory, Muriel tries to read the side of the van, but it takes her too long to process. Benjamin has to step in and explain it to everyone.

Muriel dies before the final commandment 'All animals are equal' is changed to 'All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.'

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