Study Guide

Benito Cereno Narrator Point of View

By Herman Melville

Narrator Point of View

Third Person (Limited Omniscient)

Ever watched a horror movie? Half the fun is watching the plot unfold as the characters have no clue what's about to happen. You might not know what's going on, either, but the suspenseful music clues you in a little bit.

"Benito Cereno" is kind of like that. We get a few tidbits about what's going on from Captain Delano, like this one:

Still, Captain Delano was not without the idea that had Benito Cereno been a man of greater energy, misrule could hardly have to the present pass. (42.25)

In other words, we get Delano's impressions about Cereno. But Delano has no idea what exactly is going on aboard the San Dominick, and the reader is similarly shut out in the cold. Luckily, we have our thinking caps and our intuition—and that serves almost as well as scary music. 

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