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Justice in Benito Cereno - Essay Example

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In the story, a ship under the captainship of Don Benito was on its way from the port of Valparaiso to Callao with one hundred and sixty blacks, thirty-six…
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Justice in Benito Cereno
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Download file to see previous pages At the end, the leader of the revolt, Babo, was caught and killed. The story creates such an atmosphere where identifying the role of justice is a difficult task. However, a thorough scrutiny reveals that real justice was not ultimately done in the story.
The story reveals that the purpose of the revolt for the blacks was to gain freedom, not to torture the whites. For example, after capturing the ship, the first thing Negro Babo asked was “whether there were in those seas any Negro countries where they might be carried” (Melville 64). This gives the insight that the sole purpose for the blacks was to regain their freedom and go back to a black country where they would not be subjugated to slavery. In addition, it is the fear of losing freedom that made them kill their master Don Alexandro Aranda. Negro Babo informed Don Benito of the intention in advance and gave the reason “he and his companions could not otherwise be sure of their liberty” (Meville 65). Apparently, the blacks had no intention to enslave the whites and torture them but to ensure their own liberty.
In addition, the blacks used the chance to teach the whites the lesson that subjugation, torture and death are equally painful for all humans. To illustrate, on killing Don Alexandro Aranda, the ship’s proper figure-head was replaced by his skeleton. Thereafter, every white in the ship was asked, “whether, from its whiteness, he should not think it a white’s” (Melville 66). There is evident sarcasm aiming at the mentality of the whites seeing everything done by whites as virtue and blacks as vice. In simple terms, one can say that the revolt by the blacks was an effort to regain their much-valued freedom from the clutches of the whites. The readiness of blacks to risk their lives for the air of freedom is evidenced from their claim “they would do and conform themselves to everything the deponent should require as to eating and drinking” (Melville 64). Thus, the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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