Analysis Of Good And Evil In Benito Cereno

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Good and evil are part of human nature and an individual can have different perspectives and interpretations of both. Herman Melville’s “Benito Cereno” attempts to portray the everlasting struggle between recognizing the evil versus the good through the characterization of the narrator, Captain Delano. He uses Delano, an innocent and optimistic person, as the narrator of this story to portray the average American who is culturally conditioned to believe that slaves can only be depicted in a nonresistant and unassertive role. They can only be seen as loyal and obedient servants to their masters. But soon he realizes that he underestimated their power. Captain Delano is a “person of a singularly undistrustful good nature…” who does not see …show more content…

He failed to the notice the red flags that clearly diminished the illusion created by Babo. He ignores any strange act done by the slaves, even when one of the black boys on the ship “…struck a lad over the head, inflicting a gash from which blood flowed” or when Cereno was confronted by the chained slave, Ataful, in order to depict himself as the “owner of all” (1537). Babo and his companions “acted” like slaves which was what everyone thought they were and continued to fool Delano. Babo portrays himself as an obedient slave who worshiped and loyally served his master. He portrays Cereno as a master who is in control of his slaves when in reality he is the slave. For example, Babo offers to give Cereno a shave. He holds the razor to Cereno’s neck. He appears to caring for his master when in reality he is like death lingering over Cereno, torturing him every second. Babo is constantly in control. But why does Delano still not understand what Babo was doing? Delano’s good nature makes him simply view this as an act of kindness on Babo’s part. He is unable to see through this staged act because of the misconception that whites dominate everything. He thinks that the slaves were incapable of coming up with such a

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