Benito Cereno

by

Herman Melville

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Alexandro Aranda Character Analysis

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 optimistic, since he decides not to keep the slaves in chains, assuming that they are docile. This attitude reflects Captain Delano’s naïve, racist belief that black slaves are naturally passive and obedient. During the slave revolution, Babo orders a couple of Ashantee men to kill Aranda, in order to ensure the slaves’ freedom and, through terror, to keep the remaining sailors from rebelling. Babo orders Aranda’s body cleaned (through probable cannibalism) and his skeleton placed as the figure-head of the ship. Babo then uses this skeleton as a threat that, if the sailors try to revolt, they will “follow their leader” and die like Aranda.

Alexandro Aranda Quotes in Benito Cereno

The Benito Cereno quotes below are all either spoken by Alexandro Aranda or refer to Alexandro Aranda. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Benito Cereno published in 2016.
Benito Cereno Quotes

Some months after, dragged to the gibbet at the tail of a mule, the black met his voiceless end. The body was burned to ashes; but for many days, the head, that hive of subtlety fixed on a pole in the Plaza, met, unabashed, the gaze of the whites; and across the Plaza looked towards St. Bartholomew’s church, in whose vaults slept then, as now, the recovered bones of Aranda; and across the Rimac bridge looked towards the monastery, on Mount Agonia without; where, three months after being dismissed by the court, Benito Cereno, borne on the bier, did, indeed, follow his leader.

Related Characters: Don Benito Cereno, Babo , Alexandro Aranda
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Benito Cereno LitChart as a printable PDF.
Benito Cereno PDF

Alexandro Aranda Character Timeline in Benito Cereno

The timeline below shows where the character Alexandro Aranda appears in Benito Cereno. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Benito Cereno
Violence and Slavery Theme Icon
Leadership and Authority Theme Icon
...When Delano asks Cereno who owns the slaves, Don Benito replies that his friend Alexandro Aranda used to. Recalling his friend’s death—because of the fever, Cereno confirms—Cereno, overcome by emotion, begins... (full context)
Leadership and Authority Theme Icon
...your leader. Cereno cries out that this is the body of his murdered friend Alexandro Aranda. When the boat reaches Delano’s ship, Cereno refuses to move until Babo is fully tied... (full context)
Leadership and Authority Theme Icon
...1798, with thirty-six crew members, various goods to trade, and 160 slaves belonging to Alexandro Aranda. Cereno lists some of the black slaves on the ship, including Francesco and Babo. (full context)
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
Violence and Slavery Theme Icon
Leadership and Authority Theme Icon
Cereno explains that the slaves were not kept in chains because Aranda judged them to be docile. After a week of navigation, the slaves suddenly organized a... (full context)
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
Violence and Slavery Theme Icon
Leadership and Authority Theme Icon
...the meantime, after daily strategic discussions with Atufal, Babo announced that they would kill Alexandro Aranda as a safety measure, in order to remind the Spanish sailors not to rebel. Although... (full context)
Violence and Slavery Theme Icon
Leadership and Authority Theme Icon
...Babo threw some more sailors overboard and Cereno begged Babo daily to tell him where Aranda’s body was, Babo finally showed Cereno a skeleton, set in the place of the ship’s... (full context)
Morality vs. Self-Righteousness Theme Icon
Violence and Slavery Theme Icon
...had other plans. Cereno is too horrified by what he heard the slaves mention about Aranda’s corpse that he cannot describe how they cleaned the skeleton. He notes that Babo ordered... (full context)
Morality vs. Self-Righteousness Theme Icon
Leadership and Authority Theme Icon
...for all the white passersby to see. His face was turned toward the church where Aranda’s bones were deposed and, farther, toward the monastery where Cereno, three months later, died, thus... (full context)