Benito Cereno

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    The Naïve Captain Delano In Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno the main character Captain Amasa Delano struck me as a bit naïve and a bit oblivious throughout the story. Captain Delano appears to be a naïve sea captain because he does not put together the puzzle pieces of the strange behavior of the San Dominick’s crew and history as quickly as one would expect. I believe that Melville is using this concept to hint at the fact that the United States did not realize that slavery was such a problem as quickly as the country should have. Some of the pieces that Captain Delano did not put together as quickly as expected are the fact that the slaves aboard the ship acted strangely and the unusual behavior between Cereno and Babo. I believe the…

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    Does personal liberty inevitably entail the marginalization of others? Herman Melville’s novella Benito Cereno and Greg Grandin’s manuscript Empire of Necessity illustrate the case of the San Dominick, a Spanish slave ship sailing through the wild Pacific Ocean near Chile, and its passengers to pose this question. At the turn of the 18th century, such tightly-packed multipurpose commercial ships pitted competing self-interests against each other. On board the San Dominick, the Spanish captain…

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    allow marginalized groups within their own society to fight for their rights which they still have not been given, in particular people of color, women, and the LGBTQ+ community. This conflicting view of revolution has existed throughout history. In addition, several different visions of “revolution” have been studied and written about. Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto describes a social revolution, while in Benito Cereno, Melville illustrates a violent slave revolt. Although the concepts of…

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    One of the most resonating quotes from Benito Cereno is made through Delano who says, “This slavery breeds ugly passions in man” (Melville 1160). This is largely one of the most important messages Melville is trying to convey. Melville shows how the feelings that the Americans were having concerning racial superiority bring forth these “ugly passions” (Melville 1160). Delano believed the ugly passions came from slavery. In reality, the ugly passion came from the perpetrators of slavery, such as…

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    between Babo and Don Benito Cereno while Babo is shaving Benito Cereno’s beard, “not unaffected by the close right of the gleaming steel, Don Benito nervously shuddered” (Melville 74). The tension between Babo and Cereno is ironic because Captain Delano does not understand what is actually going on between the two characters, creating tension between Captain Delano and the ship as a whole. Babo appears as the servant performing a task for Cereno, yet Babo is actually the person who holds the…

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    been seen all throughout history. It has been the cause of past wars, one of the main components of slavery, and race has been a hard to overlook quality even in contemporary societies. Both Herman Melville’s novella “Benito Cereno” and William Shakespeare’s play Othello explore race through the lens of a predominantly white society. In “Benito Cereno,” Captain Delano is introduced on a slave ship where he meets Captain Benito Cereno and his seemingly loyal servant, Babo. Although Delano claims…

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    Benito Cereno was published in 1855 to an abolitionist magazine, Putnam’s Monthly. The act of publishing of the short story to such a magazine reflects Melville’s intentions for the story. These being to introduce a new narrative to the abolitionist movement, one that focuses on the humanity of slaves rather than dehumanizing to simply caricatures and stereotypes. While the typical abolitionist narrative presents black African slaves as unintelligent servants, dependent on their white superiors,…

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    crucial role in American history and undeniably became a common motif that authors tackled and questioned. Such works include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, and Benito Cereno by Herman Melville. Despite the fact that both illustrate and challenge slavery before the Civil War in Antebellum America, Benito Cereno was written prior to the emancipation of slaves, whereas Huck Finn was written following the Civil War. As a result, Twain’s story mirrors Melville’s assertions on the…

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    Herman Melville’s “Benito Cereno” unravels as a tale about a slave revolt, wherein the slaves take control of the San Dominick. Before this occurrence and even after, Captain Delano believes that Benito Cereno is in control of the ship, and is transporting human cargo to be sold and delivered. Melville’s use of irony and metaphors highlight the dichotomy of slavery and freedom. He reverses the patronage from Anglo Saxon control to the enslaved as a pun against the institution of slavery,…

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    Distortion is arguably the most persuasive technique an author can utilize, because, once the truth is revealed, a text and its themes are much more resonant and influential. When faced with distortion, a reader is forced to examine their beliefs and actions in comparison to the author’s underlying statements about people and society as a whole. Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno, one of the greatest works of distortion of all time, recounts the story of a slave ship called the San Dominick.…

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