Benito Cereno


Herman Melville

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Captain Amasa Delano

The protagonist of Benito Cereno is a ship captain from Duxbury, Massachusetts, operating a ship called the Bachelor’s Delight. As the third-person narrator follows Delano’s point of view throughout the story, giving access to… read analysis of Captain Amasa Delano

Don Benito Cereno

The Spanish captain of the San Dominick initially appears emotionally distraught, physically weak, and passive in his leadership role, to the point of making Captain Delano think that Cereno might be insane. However, Cereno’s behavior… read analysis of Don Benito Cereno


Babo is one of the African slaves traded on the San Dominick. As the secret ringleader of the slave revolt, he is an enigmatic, fascinating character, both deeply intelligent and unabashedly cruel. A striking… read analysis of Babo


Babo’s assistant in the slave rebellion is a tall, imposing man who was previously a tribal leader in Africa (Babo calls him a “king” and Cereno a “chief’). In Captain Delano’s presence, Atufal… read analysis of Atufal

Alexandro Aranda

Benito Cereno’s childhood friend Alexandro Aranda is the owner of most of the slaves on the San Dominick before the slaves’ rebellion. Although not much is known about Aranda’s character, he seems trusting and… read analysis of Alexandro Aranda
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This biracial servant from Buenos Aires, originally the cabin steward on the San Dominick, takes part in the early stages of the slave revolt. Unaware of Francesco’s role in this rebellion, Delano concludes, from… read analysis of Francesco

The Hatchet-Polishers (Ashantee Men)

Like the oakum-pickers, this group of men from Ashantee (a kingdom in Western Africa) is positioned on a deck slightly higher than the rest of the crowd. Captain Delano immediately finds them eerie and… read analysis of The Hatchet-Polishers (Ashantee Men)

The Oakum-Pickers

Placed on an elevated position like the strategic hatchet-polishers, these men separate old ropes into loose strands (oakum). They play a secret policing role, keeping an attentive eye on everything that happens on the… read analysis of The Oakum-Pickers