Captain Delano 's Disarrayed World

1417 Words Jan 4th, 2015 6 Pages
Rishabh Bhatnagar
Ms. Disher
English 3 Honors
29 December 2014
Captain Delano’s Disarrayed World
The character of Captain Delano in “Benito Cereno” is that of a good-natured and openhearted white man who is clever but naïve in his assumptions about his surroundings. Although Delano is identified as the major character with good traits, Melville stresses the man’s simplicity. He is constantly exposed to clues onboard the San Dominick, yet he does not recognize the underlying mutiny that has taken place and simply accepts the elaborate display orchestrated by Babo. This lack of insight occurs precisely because Delano has a grounded social assumption of slavery and finds the master-slave relationship normative, as he is an American. It is this assumption of the logic of slavery, coupled with its cultural context at the time of his arrival on the ship that blinds him to the events taking place on the San Dominick. Delano has been indoctrinated in America about how slaves are naturally inferior. This was simply the paternalistic way of thinking in the eighteenth century. He cannot grasp the fact that Africans, lacking wit and intelligence, would be in control of the Spanish crew. Melville unveils the deep-rooted assumptions of slavery within American society in the way he constructs the world on the San Dominick, altering its power relationships. It is the moral grayness of slavery and the context in which it operates in Melville’s world that makes the good natured Captain…
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