Amasa Delano (ah-MAH-soh deh-LAH-noh), an American sea captain. Off the coast of Chile, he sees a ship in distress and sets out with food and water for its company. He finds a Spanish merchantman carrying slaves. Ship and crew are in deplorable condition, and their captain suffers from what appear to be severe mental disorders. A series of strange and sinister events lead Captain Delano to the knowledge that the Spanish captain is a prisoner of the slaves. He is able to rescue the captive and take him ashore.
Don Benito Cereno
Don Benito Cereno (beh-NEE-toh seh-REH-noh), the captain of a Spanish slave ship. His human cargo mutinies and makes him a prisoner, forced to witness atrocities on and murders of the Spanish crew. After his rescue by Captain Delano, he gives testimony concerning the mutiny and dies broken in mind and spirit.
Babo (BAH-boh), a slave. He poses as the devoted servant of Captain Cereno and attempts to deceive Captain Delano concerning Cereno’s true condition. Failing in this attempt, he is captured and hanged on Captain Cereno’s testimony.
Don Alexandro Aranda
Don Alexandro Aranda (ah-RAHN-dah), owner of the cargo of the Spanish slave ship. He is killed and mutilated by the slaves.
Raneds (RRAH-nehds), the slave ship’s mate, murdered by the slaves.