Benito Cereno By Herman Melville Essay

807 words - 3 pages

Benito Cereno by Herman Melville


In many stories, the main characters carry the plot of a story throughout the book. The author often expresses the message that he desires the reader to receive through their thoughts and actions. Yet, the minor characters often have a large affect on the outcome of the book, although it is not quite as obvious to the reader. By altering the thoughts or actions of the main characters, a seemingly minor player in a novel may actually, at closer examination, be an important player in the plot. In the short story Benito Cereno, by Herman Melville, the minor character, Atufal, largely influenced Captain Delano, who is a main character. Delano’s assessments and opinions aboard the Spanish ship were greatly affected by Atufal, which therefore had an effect on the plot and ending of the story.
Captain Delano began to suspect that something on the ship was irregular, and then an incident with Atufal put all of his rightful suspicions to rest. Atufal, a minor character in the novel, led Captain Delano to become confused about what was truly happening aboard the San Dominick. As Delano first boarded the ship, he noticed several incidents that did not seem quite right. For example, he witnessed a young Negro boy hit a young white boy over the head with a knife (159), receiving no reaction from other people on the ship. Because he assumed that the whites were in control of the ship, Delano thought that it was quite strange that none of the Spaniards were upset by this disrespect of a white boy by a Negro. Atufal was brought out on the deck of the ship in front of Benito Cereno to ask his pardon. The “prisoner” Atufal refused to do so, and he was returned into captivity. Captain Delano viewed this situation to be somewhat unjust. “What, pray, was Atufal’s offense . . . if it was not something serious . . . remit him of his penalty”(163). Delano felt sympathy towards the Negro, and questioned Don Cereno as to why he was treating the slave with such cruelty. Atufal’s performance caused Delano to believe that Cereno was in control of the happenings on the boat, and that his prior concerns about the role of the Negroes on the San Dominick should be put to rest.
Delano did not do much more than shortly entertain the idea...

Find Another Essay On Benito Cereno by Herman Melville

"Benito Creno" by Herman Melville Essay

853 words - 3 pages Delight. Delano not being able to realize what is occurring on the San Dominick played a major role in the short story" Benito Cereno" written by Herman Melville.Captain Delano is known to be the nice character in the short story. When he sees the San Dominick wondering around not knowing who he is his natural instinct is to go and offer his assistance. Even when he is introduced with no respect, on the Spanish galleon and falls to believe the

Malicious Babo of Benito Cereno by Melville

995 words - 4 pages Malicious Babo Benito Cereno is a short novel written by Melville, with a surprise ending. At least it was quite a surprise that Babo, the negro servant of Cereno, ends up being the one in charge of the ship. Babo fought for his freedom, which is good, but Babo went above and beyond the means necessary to get his freedom. Along with that he has much more serious problems with himself. Here are some ways to see it. There are two ways to

"Billy Budd" By Herman Melville

1410 words - 6 pages Before the Fall, Adam and Eve were perfect. They were innocent and ignorant, yet perfect, so they were allowed to abide in the presence of God. Once they partook of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, however, they immediately became unclean as well as mortal. In Billy Budd, the author, Herman Melville, presents a question that stems directly from this original sin of our first parents: Is it better to be innocent and ignorant

Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville

980 words - 4 pages Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville Herman Melville, an American novelist and major literary figure explored psychological themes in many of his works. Herman Melville was born in 1819 in New York City into an established merchant family. The family's fortune had taken a decline that led to bankruptcy and caused insanity to enter into his father's Life. Through his writing, Melville recreated a part of life that

"Bartleby, the scrivener" by Herman Melville

696 words - 3 pages Have you ever tried to provide help for someone who refused it at the end? There is no doubt that the help becomes meaningless, even though the person is really eager to give a hand. In the short story "Bartleby, the scrivener" by Herman Melville, the narrator, a lawyer, who was considered as an "eminently safe man" (56). He dealt with the business that took few risks and believed that the easiest path in life was always the best. The lawyer was

Weak Authority in Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville

1419 words - 6 pages to go mad and into isolation. The lawyer tried to help Bartleby, but he refused every time and ultimately dies under the tree in prison. Bartleby is a symbol of isolation; whereas the lawyer is a symbol of weak authority and Herman Melville, author of the book, himself. Melville wrote the novel after he realized his career was on the verge of a break down, yet instead of Melville facing his troubles and the difficulties he ran to Europe. Such

A Capitalist World in Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville

888 words - 4 pages Erick Garza Professor John Dean ENGL 2327 201 9 April 2014 The Good Samaritan In Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener” we are introduced to a capitalist world, a capitalist world in which an economic system controlled by private owners with the goal of making profit in the market economy exist. The story is narrated by a man mostly known as “The Lawyer”, the “elderly man” who seeks God’s acceptance by his so called “kindness” shown to

Bartleby, the Scrivener a Short Story Written by Herman Melville

2117 words - 8 pages “Bartleby, the Scrivener” is an intriguing short story written by Herman Melville for Putnam's magazine at a time when Melville was in need for money to support his family, shortly after the failure of Pierre in 1852 (Davis 183). The narrator of the work, who is also a practicing lawyer, opens with a description of himself, his employees, and the fact that his business has recently grown. Soon after, the narrator, hires an additional employee

Biily Budd by Herman Melville- Appearance vs Reality

999 words - 4 pages The True CharacterUsually, one would judge others at first sight by their appearance and first impressions then make an initial inference about them. Through the interaction and conversation one had with people, they might not be able to decipher between what was the truth and what was untrue. Herman Melville, through his novel Billy Budd conveyed the theme of appearance versus reality in the novel's three main characters. In the beginning of

Self-representation in William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe and Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville

2279 words - 9 pages The stories William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe and Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville are useful examples to discuss the difficulties of self-representation. While the narrator in Poe’s tale begs us to “let me call myself, for the present, William Wilson” the complex self-representation here is also prevalent in the heart of Melville’s story. West's Encyclopedia of American Law tells us that “courts usually discourage self-representation

DEFENSE MECHANISM OF BARTEBLY’S PERSONALITY IN SHORT STORY BARTLEBY THE SCRIVENER BY HERMAN MELVILLE

3251 words - 13 pages DEFENSE MECHANISM OF BARTEBLY'S PERSONALITY IN SHORT STORY BARTLEBY THE SCRIVENER BY HERMAN MELVILLEA literary work can be reviewed by using different approaches, such as the sociological approach to literature that focuses on human problems, the structural approach that focuses on autonomy as a work of literary fiction, and others. I use the short story "Bartleby The Scrivener" by Herman Melville as study materials."Bartleby The Scrivener" is a

Similar Essays

"Benito Cereno" By Herman Melville Essay

1187 words - 5 pages The novella Benito Cereno has been a topic of controversy amongst several critics. In their perspectives, some differ and others coincide on themes in Benito Cereno. The theme that we are concerned with is if violence, even if it was for a worthy cause, was justified in Benito Cereno. Violence, as depicted by these analysts was used as a median to control slaves and alternate subordination in the story. Several critics, such as Joseph Schiffman

Racism And Slavery In Benito Cereno, By Herman Melville

1677 words - 7 pages Herman Melville is known greatly in the world of literature for his enigmatic works, such as "Bartleby the Scrivener", and "Benito Cereño". His complex plot and unique character personalities make his works both interesting and compelling. In "Benito Cereño", we are introduced to the narrator Captain Delano as he and his crew encounter the ship, the San Dominick, in need of assistance. Upon climbing aboard he meets Captain Cereño along with is

Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness And Benito Cereno By Herman Melville

1667 words - 7 pages Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Benito Cereno by Herman Melville tactfully conceal a racist and simplistic portrayal of Africa and its people through the mask of fiction. The novellas use fiction to dissuade the reader from understanding that the authors are indirectly equating Africa to anarchy and barbarism. The setting, dialogue and motifs within their stories make the extremely biased portrayal of Africa evident. Joseph Conrad and

The Role Of Slavery In The Novella Benito Cereno By Herman Melville

1045 words - 4 pages Written just before the civil war era and the great debates over slavery, the novella "Benito Cereno" casts the slaves as the main antagonists. The harsh words Melville uses to describe the slaves could be used on any mutineers. But the fact that Melville casts the slave in the roles of mutineers shows that he is making a statement on slavery. The way Herman Melville portrays the malevolence of the slaves depicts the institution of slavery as