Benito Cereno by Herman Melville

Benito Cereno, by Herman Melville, is a novella about the slave uprising on board the San Dominick, which was captained by Benito Cereno. The story is told from the perspective of Captain Delano, who was on another ship when he saw the San Dominick in trouble and decided to go over and help. When he got there, he found that the slaves had taken over the ship and were holding Captain Cereno and the other whites captive.Captain Delano soon realized that things were not as they seemed, and that the apparent leader of the revolt, Babo, was actually in control of Captain Cereno.

The truth was eventually revealed when an earthquake caused a fire on board the San Dominick, and Babo was killed. The slaves then lost heart and surrendered to Captain Delano.

Benito Cereno is a novel by Herman Melville about the slave revolt on board a ship called the San Dominick. The novel is narrated by an American sailor named Delano who witnesses the events unfold. The story begins with Delano boarding the San Dominick in search of water and supplies.

He quickly realizes that something is amiss on the ship and that there is a power struggle between the captain, Benito Cereno, and one of the slaves, Babo. It becomes clear that Babo is leading a revolt against Cereno and has taken control of the ship. Delano tries to help Cereno regain control of his vessel but ultimately fails.

The situation comes to a head when all of the slaves are killed except for Babo, who is captured and brought to trial. In the end, it is revealed that Delano was actually part of the plot all along and was helping Babo stage the revolt.

Benito Cereno  by Herman Melville


What is the Story Benito Cereno About?

Benito Cereno is a novella by Herman Melville. The story takes place on board a slave ship, the San Dominick, and centers around the ship’s captain, Benito Cereno. This work was written while slavery was still legal in the United States, and it is thought to be one of the first American works that addresses the issue of slavery head-on.

The novella opens with the arrival of the San Dominick in port at St. Maria, Chile.Captain cereno and his crew are met by Captain Delano of another American vessel, who has come to offer assistance as they seem to be having trouble with their sails. Delano soon becomes suspicious of the behavior of both Cereno and his crew and begins to suspect that something is amiss onboard the San Dominick. His suspicions are confirmed when he witnesses a violent mutiny led by Babo, one of the slaves onboard the ship.

Delano manages to escape the ship and alert authorities in St. Maria about what has happened. He also tells them that Captain Cereno is being held captive by Babo and his fellow rebels. A rescue mission is mounted but it is too late – when they reach the San Dominick they find that all but three of its crew have been killed, along with most of its passengers.

Captain Cereno himself is alive but he has been badly traumatized by his ordeal and never fully recovers from it. The novella ends with Delano reflecting on what he has seen and learned from this tragic event. Benito Cereno is a powerful work that sheds light on some of the brutal realities of slavery in America .

It also raises important questions about race, power and morality which are still relevant today .

What is Melville’S Purpose in Writing Benito Cereno?

While there are many possible interpretations of Melville’s purpose in writing Benito Cereno, one plausible explanation is that he was critiquing the hypocrisy of slavery and race relations in America. Through the character of Babo, Melville exposes the cruelty of slavery and the way it dehumanizes both slaves and slave owners. He also highlights how race can be used to justify oppression, as seen when Delano tries to rationalize Babo’s treatment.

In the end, Melville shows that even those who believe they are championing the cause of justice can be complicit in injustice.

What is the Moral of Benito Cereno?

The moral of Benito Cereno is that one should be cautious when trusting others, as appearances can be deceiving. This is illustrated in the novel through the character of Babo, who seems to be a loyal and obedient servant but is actually a mastermind slave leader leading a revolt against his Spanish captors. The story also serves as a warning against slavery and the mistreatment of slaves, as the uprising led by Babo ultimately results in tragedy for all involved.

What Does Benito Cereno Say About Slavery?

In the years leading up to the Civil War, many Americans began to see slavery as an evil institution that needed to be abolished. This view was shared by abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass, who spoke out against slavery and worked to end it. One of the most famous works of antislavery literature is Benito Cereno, a novella written by Herman Melville.

Cereno is set aboard a ship called the San Dominick, which is carrying slaves from Africa to South America. The story follows the ship’s captain, Benito Cereno, as he tries to keep control of his vessel and its cargo during a rebellion led by one of the slaves, Babo. Throughout the course of the novella, Melville offers a scathing critique of slavery and those who support it.

In one passage, for example, he writes: “What has slaveholding done for mankind? What but make them brutish masters and miserable slaves? Down with slaveholding! Up with humanity everywhere!” Elsewhere in the book, he describes slavery as “a great moral wrong” and argues that it can never be justified. Benito Cereno is thus an important work in the history of antislavery literature.

It helped to shape public opinion about slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War and continues to resonate with readers today.

Benito Cereno by Herman Melville, Part One

Benito Cereno Pdf

In Herman Melville’s novel, Benito Cereno, the titular character is a Spanish ship captain who finds himself in the midst of a mutiny. The story is set against the backdrop of slavery and racial tensions in 18th century South America, and it provides a fascinating look at the power dynamics at play during this time period. The novel has been praised for its nuanced exploration of these complex issues, and it remains one of Melville’s most popular works.

If you’re interested in learning more about this classic work of literature, you can find a PDF of the novel online.


The novella Benito Cereno, by Herman Melville, tells the story of a slave revolt aboard a Spanish ship. The ship’s captain, Don Benito Cereno, is taken hostage by the slaves, led by their leader Babo. However, Babo is killed in a fight with another slave, Delano.

The other slaves then submit to Delano’s authority and the ship is returned to port.

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