Racism and Slavery in Benito Cereno, by Herman Melville

1287 Words 6 Pages
Herman Melville is known greatly in the world of literature for his enigmatic works, such as "Bartleby the Scrivener", and "Benito Cereño". His complex plot and unique character personalities make his works both interesting and compelling. In "Benito Cereño", we are introduced to the narrator Captain Delano as he and his crew encounter the ship, the San Dominick, in need of assistance. Upon climbing aboard he meets Captain Cereño along with is crew and slaves, and is informed of their unfortunate events has left the ship without supplies. However, Captain Delano is not aware of what is actually going on behind the fake story he is told. The slaves aboard are the ones in charge holding the Spaniards hostage and forcing them to take them …show more content…
He does not find them capable until the ending of the story when he sees Babo and the others in action. Interesting enough Putnam's Monthly had taken a radical change against slavery publishing works to not necessarily strike fear into slave owners, but to express power slaves hold hidden ( Yellen 679). It is also suggested that the text stereotypes the abolitionists belief of the slaves to be docile and harmless so to speak ( Welsh 556)
Captain Delano is shown as a bit of dense character for his inability to see the truth of what happened on the San Dominick. When he meets Babo he is amused at how well he takes care of his master, Captain Cereno, he stays along side him linked by the arm. He even thinks to himself how great it is to have such slave that appears to be more of a friend or companion than a manservant ( Nixon 369). While aboard there are many things that Captain Delano sees which rise his suspicion, however he chooses to disregard or forget them as the story progresses. He sees a young slave boy hitting another young Spanish boy, to which he tells Captain Cereño hoping to get him to do something about the situation, but Captain Cereño dismisses the incident.(9, left column) In return Captain Delano also dismisses the incident and continues on with Captain Cereño. He gives all his trust to Captain Cereno, because to his belief and understanding
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