Study Guide

Benito Cereno The Supernatural

By Herman Melville

The Supernatural

Ghost ships, skeletons, and spooky sailors, oh my! "Benito Cereno"<em> </em>is chock-full of creepy moments that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The thing is, it's not always clear <em>why</em> they're creepy. Sometimes, we just get Captain Delano's sense that something is amiss, without any reasoning behind it. Other times, we get concrete examples straight from CreepyTown: think Alexandro Aranda's skeleton hoisted up on the figurehead.

Questions About The Supernatural

  1. Sure, Aranda's skeleton is meant to be a warning. But what kind of warning is it supposed to be, and to whom?
  2. What prompts all of Delano's spooky feelings about BenitoCereno?
  3. Here's a real stumper: how does Delano know that Aranda'sbody is still on board the ship?

Chew on This

Melville uses all that imagery of gray skies in order to set the stage for a spooky story.

The sign posted under Aranda's skeleton ironically suggests that he was once a leader.

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