Herman Melville's "Benito Cereno" Melville’s “Benito Cereno” shows the development of a story primarily through the thoughts and experiences of a racist, but this essay will show that the theme of the story was actually anti-racist instead. The story takes place in the years before the American Civil War, which was fought about slavery. While some people in the South of the United States believed that slavery was justified and right, most of the world was making laws against it. “Benito Cereno” takes place on a Spanish slaving ship which is making its way to the United States from Africa. The ship runs into problems and is boarded by an American named Amasa Delano, who is the captain of a Massachusetts whaling ship. Delano is trying to...The end:
....., Melville is challenging his readers. He wants them to understand that there is no difference between these men, and that it is wrong to treat another person with violence whether they are a slave or a slave master. When Babo treats Cereno like a slave, he seems like a villain, but he is also shown to be strong and intelligent person at the same time. For these reasons, I believe that the theme of the story, Melville’s “Benito Cereno”, was actually anti-racist instead of racist. Although the story is complex, it also allows people to think about what happens when people are being controlled against their will, and how bad that is for society as a whole. Reference Melville, H. “Benito Cereno.” Putnam's Monthly. New York: Putnam Press, 1855.