Benito Cerreno Essay

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In Herman Melville’s, Benito Cereno, the institution of slavery is brought into the light for both the slave owner and the slave. The slave’s treatment on the San Dominick is sinisterly played out in Captain Delano tour of the ship. Melville creates a vivid scene of the inhumane conditions through the description of how the Negros on the ship as sickly and starving. Caption Delano sees the treatment of the slaves and their sickly looking faces as normal and usual. He describes a group of elderly Negros, who are untwisting old rope, as mindlessly doing a task while silent murmuring a sound of bagpipes playing at a funeral. The Negros has little to no clothing and greatly out number the whites yet they receive the short of the stick. The irony…show more content…
Melville uses Captain Delano’s blindness and the subtle hints placed throughout the story to point to the racial ideologies of the time. The very beginning scene where the San Dominick is brought in to the story revels Delano’s blind optimism in the face of reality (Melville 1). Melville early on brings to light that Delano in the face of harsh reality keeps a positive mindset that distorts the true reality. From this point Melville has revealed Captain Delano’s view of his surroundings, which will blind him to the truth on the San Dominick. The first instance of Delano’s blindness revealing these ideologies occurs when Delano comes aboard the San Dominick. The scene that greets captain Delano is one of chaos and confuses. A swarming mass of both blacks and Spaniards greet him, which for a moment strikes Delano as odd because of the freedom that the blacks have with Spaniards (Melville 6). Delano quickly pushes the moment aside because of the condition of the boat would only make sense. Then after Captain Delano meets Don Benito he notices the negative way that Don Benito was acting but Captain Delano though the sickness was the cause. The first instance is the entire first glimpse of the San Dominick and that already there are signs that something is amiss but Delano with his blind racist ideology would never suspect the

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