Study Guide

Benito Cereno Lies and Deceit

By Herman Melville

Lies and Deceit

Benito Cereno and Babo tell lies so fast in "Benito Cereno" that we're surprised they don't have twin Pinocchio noses. The real question is the motive behind the lies. Clearly, Cereno is trying to lie to save his life. Right? Then why does he die of grief after Babo is executed? How many of his "lies" are actually lies at all?

Babo has a smoother tongue than his quivering buddy, which he employs to keep Captain Delano thoroughly hoodwinked. His lies come so easily and convincingly that it's hard to see them as lies at all. Then again, he's had a lifetime of practicing.

Questions About Lies and Deceit

  1. Does Babo ever acknowledge his lies? Would it matter if he did?
  2. For the Statistician Shmooper: how many times is BenitoCereno lying to Captain Delano? To really figure this out, you'd have to carefully read the final few pages.
  3. Is Delano being totally honest with himself when he's aboardthe San Dominick? Are there any moments when he lies?
  4. What kind of deceitful strategies does Babo employ to keepDelano under his spell?

Chew on This

While Babo and Benito Cereno lie to Captain Delano, the rest of the former slaves don't bother pretending at all.

Benito Cereno is totally genuine in his affection for Babo, even when the dude tries to stab him.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...