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Benito Cereno and the American Hero.

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Bret Corrigan Benito Cereno and the American Hero Certain characteristics and qualities of the American Hero can be found in the character of Amasa Delano, a young and trustful sea Captain who succeeds in suppressing the slave revolt aboard the San Dominick. Several factors, particularly Delano's ignorance allow him to be successful in his squelching of the slave revolt. Delano's ignorance could be perceived as a flaw by many, but in reality ignorance is Delano's savior and allows him to put down the uprising. Captain's Delano's flaw is crucial to his triumph over Babo and the slaves. In conversation with Benito Cereno afterwards Delano proclaims, "but the temper of my mind that morning was more than commonly pleasant, while the sight of so much suffering, more apparent than real, added to my good-nature, compassion, and charity, happily interweaving the three. Had it been otherwise, doubtless, as you hint, some of my interferences might have ended unhappily enough" (Melville 237). In this conversation Cereno and Delano discuss how Delano's trustfulness and notion that all men are of good nature saves their lives. Delano's ignorance prevents him from discovering the truth, which would almost certainly lead him to a gloomy demise. ...read more.


In another instance Delano notices a sailor attempting to communicate with him who then flees at the sound of footsteps. Delano ponders over the strange scene but doesn't take action. From all of these bizarre occurrences, Delano should be able to realize that something is obviously amiss, but his trustfulness and ignorance cause him to refuse to believe so. In addition, Delano rationalizes that it would be unimaginable for him, Jack of the Beach, to die out at sea under these conditions. He cogitates to himself, "I to be murdered here at the ends of the earth, on board a haunted pirate-ship by a horrible Spaniard? Too nonsensical to think of! Who would murder Amasa Delano? His conscience is clean" (Melville 191). He now has a renewed confidence and writes off the perplexing scenes witnessed earlier as mere coincidences. Delano also flirts with the idea that he is wanted dead, but does not know if it is the blacks, Spaniards, or both who want to kill him. Delano's ignorance then takes over and he reasons that the blacks are too stupid and are under control, the Spaniards would have killed him already and their ship and crew is too dilapidated, and the idea that the Spaniards and blacks are in complicity with each other is unthinkable. ...read more.


He is forced to face the mysteries of the San Dominick on his own without the assistance of others. However, out of all of his qualities none prove to be more significant than Delano's flaw. It is Delano's flaw that allows him to be successful aboard the Spanish vessel. The American Hero generally has a flaw, implying that they are not perfect. In Delano's case, it turns out that all is well because without this flaw he is most likely dead. Delano's ignorance leads him to believe that the blacks are incapable of such a revolt to the point that it is almost unthinkable. Delano disregards many occurrences that should lead him to conclude that something is terribly wrong. This results in Delano not discovering that the blacks are in control, which essentially saves his and Cereno's lives. Amasa Delano's success on board the San Dominick is mainly attributed to his ignorance and trusting nature, which allow him to look past initial suspicions he encounters aboard the San Dominick. It is Delano's flaw that enables him to avoid catastrophe and go home victorious. Though ignorance is generally perceived as a fault and weakness in character, it served as Delano's savior and was the main cause of his success in suppressing the slave uprising. ...read more.

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