Benito Cereno has the creepy tendency of just suddenly retreating inward. Captain Delano is overwhelmed upon boarding the strange ship. That moment, across the long-benighted mind of Captain Delano, a flash of revelation swept, illuminating in unanticipated clearness his host’s whole mysterious demeanor, with every enigmatic event of the day, as well as the entire past voyage of the San Dominick. Download a PDF to print or study offline. Instead, Cereno appears to have another fit and is supported by Babo, a scene Captain Delano finds pleasing. After witnessing an incident where a black boy hits a white boy with a knife and Benito Cereno says nothing and hands out no punishment, Captain Delano is confused and alarmed. For example, they throw Spanish sailors to the sea, where the men are bound to drown and be eaten by sharks. His interpretation of the chaos, disrepair, and lack of general orderliness about this ship is that it is caused by the miserable circumstances undergone by all aboard—most particularly by Cereno. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”, LitCharts uses cookies to personalize our services. 160 pages. LitCharts Teacher Editions. See, yon bright son has forgotten it all, and the blue sea, and the blue sky; these have turned over new leaves.Because they have no memory . Chalk it up to his sickness, his nervousness, or something else going on…we just know it's spooky. ― Herman Melville, quote from Benito Cereno, “His mind swarmed with superstitious suspicions.” Babo is ultimately the cause of the deaths of many of the sailors and crew aboard the San Dominick, and he holds the power of life and death over Cereno. more relevant and important. world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is He is saved because Babo orders him to sail the ship to Senegal and keeps the others from killing him. By establishing a parallel between Aranda’s illegal murder and Babo’s legal execution, Melville shows that neither act is less brutal than the other. “The knot,” was the brief reply, without looking up. Upon taking stock of his surroundings and meeting with Benito Cereno, Captain Delano notes Cereno's bad health and the general poor condition of the crew. Even though the ship is flying no flag, which is unusual, the captain is unconcerned. However, Delano does not understand that slavery is inherently violent. Course Hero, Inc. As a reminder, you may only use Course Hero content for your own personal use and may not copy, distribute, or otherwise exploit it for any other purpose. See more on GoodReads, “close your eyes and enjoy the silence” However, even though the slaves might be justified in revolting, the violence they take part in soon replicates the cruelty that they have been victim of. Although slavery is legal in the world of the novella, it involves the total dehumanization of its victims, who are treated as objects of trade. Benito Cereno Quotes In armies, navies, cities, or families, in nature herself, nothing more relaxes good order than misery. If so, then here was evinced the unhealthy climax of that icy though conscientious policy, more or less adopted by all commanders of large ships, which, except in signal emergencies, obliterates alike the manifestation of sway with every trace of sociality; transforming the man into a block, or rather into a loaded cannon, which, until there is call for thunder, has nothing to say. And yet his answer seems to indicate he blames the black race generally and not just those aboard his ship. This is the most famous line in Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener," and perhaps one of the most famous lines in American literature. more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to Benito Cereno, despite being "saved," is still deeply affected by the trauma of his experiences. It is a thought that shows the way Captain Delano thinks. This leads Melville to suggest that violence is cruel and inhuman whether it takes place in a legal setting (as in the case of slavery) or whether it is justified from the perspective of human dignity (as in a slave revolt). ― Herman Melville, quote from Benito Cereno, “But, in fact, his reserve might, in some degree, have proceeded from design. Is it possible, thought Captain Delano; was it to wreak in private his Spanish spite against this poor friend of his, that Don Benito, by his sullen manner, impelled me to withdraw? philosophy by which we live. As the world communicates more and "Benito Cereno Study Guide." Ah, this slavery breeds ugly passions in man.—Poor fellow! As a result, paradoxically, in the slaves’ fight to regain control over their lives, they ultimately reproduce the very cruelty they rejected as slaves. Again, in this moment when Captain Delano is irritated, Babo returns to Benito Cereno's cabin at the same moment he himself does, the reader is shown how Delano turns away from something of significance and focuses on the positive news of the fair wind blowing the ship into the bay. You are saved: what has cast such a shadow upon you? In this way, Melville denounces violence in all its forms, whether spontaneous or state-sanctioned. Section 2 (Growing Suspicion), - Shocked by Cereno’s behavior, Delano laments the violence that slavery can breed: “was it to wreak in private his Spanish spite against this poor friend of his, that Don Benito, by his sullen manner, impelled me to withdraw?