Benito Cereno a New Deception: Comparing Benito Thesis
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A New Deception: Comparing Benito Cereno to the Modern World
Although Benito Cereno is presented as the captain of the ship, it is actually Babo, the slave, who is in control of the situation. Babo represents in Melville's Benito Cereno, a man driven to rebellion against a system of slavery; Cereno represents a man caught in the middle of a slave trade, experiencing for the first time what it is like to have lost one's freedom. In the end, Babo is executed for leading a mutiny, and Cereno dies shortly thereafter from mysterious effects that might be interpreted as a defeated spirit. The deception of the novella is this: that Captain Delano, who comes to the assistance of the San Dominick, is led to believe that the true ruler of the ship is Cereno, who is actually the slave of Babo. This paper will explore the deception at the heart of Benito Cereno and show how it relates to our contemporary target='_blank' href='https://www.paperdue.com/topic/world-essays' rel="follow">world, which is increasingly more and more totalitarian in that it views all the subjects of the world as potential terrorists who must be controlled and herded around like cattle -- or like Cereno -- even as it tells them that they are the true captains of the democratic State.
To understand the deception of which Delano is finally relieved, one must examine the relationship between slave and captain -- that is, Babo and Cereno. Babo is the ever-attendant, ever-surveying, ever-watchful slave, who has led a slave revolt on board the San Dominick. Cereno, powerless to overcome Babo and his men, allows Babo to let him steer for shore so that they may replenish their stores before returning to Africa. In so doing, Cereno is able to hail Delano of the Bachelor's Delight. Delano boards and at first is willing to help -- but as he finds the relationship of crew and slaves to be somewhat odd, he begins to question Cereno. Cereno, of course, is under no condition to be able to answer honestly -- because of the threat…
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We may say that this same threat now hangs over all of us, who are accustomed to believing that we are free to elect our officials and to live by our Constitution. But in reality, the threat of indefinite detention now hangs over us with the recent passing of the National Defense Bill S. 1867. That Bill, if signed into law by the President, allows the military to indefinitely detain any American civilian that is suspected of terrorist activities. No charges need be filed, no appearance before a judge need take place. It is the end of freedom, essentially -- and we are all become Benito Cereno's, taken prisoner by the very people we thought were serving our interests.
Yet, perhaps there is a Delano in our midst. One may like to believe that an honest and decent man is in the race to win the Republican nomination. One may like to think that Ron Paul can do what he says -- end the wars, end the Fed, restore the Constitution as the rule of law, and free the citizens from the totalitarian rule of the Fascists who now occupy the White House and the New World Order. But like Cereno, we may be forced to leap overboard before the deception can truly be revealed -- before any action can truly take place. Then our new masters -- like Babo and his men -- will reveal themselves by swinging into violence. In this way, our contemporary situation certainly is resembles the tale told in Melville's Benito Cereno.
In conclusion, the deception that Babo and his men force onto Delano is only ripped back when Cereno dives over board and compels the slaves to reveal themselves as hijackers of the San Dominick. We may find that we are in a similar situation today, as more and more laws are passed by Congress in which our public servants are used against us -- all in the name, of course, of safety and security.
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