Benito Cereno


Herman Melville

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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 a weak reply on Cereno’s part, that Francesco must be a good person because his “white blood” makes him superior to black people—an episode that only confirms that Delano consistently views the world through a racist lens. Although not much is known about Francesco’s life, he proves enterprising and devoted to the revolt when he suggests to Babo that they poison Delano, an idea that Babo discards.
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Francesco Character Timeline in Benito Cereno

The timeline below shows where the character Francesco appears in Benito Cereno. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Benito Cereno
Racism and Prejudice Theme Icon
A young, biracial servant, Francesco, then announces lunch. Noticing the boy’s beauty and agreeable voice, Delano asks Cereno if he... (full context)
Leadership and Authority Theme Icon
...belonging to Alexandro Aranda. Cereno lists some of the black slaves on the ship, including Francesco and Babo. (full context)
Morality vs. Self-Righteousness Theme Icon
Violence and Slavery Theme Icon
...a rebellion, but that they all supported it once it took place. He mentions that Francesco was devoted to Babo and had suggested poisoning Delano, which Babo kept him from doing... (full context)