Essays On Oroonoko And Slavery

Essays On Oroonoko And Slavery-60
Throughout Oronooko, particularly in this passage, Aphra Behn focuses on identity in both specific characters, such as Oroonoko and Imoinda, and collective terms, such as “Whites” and “Negroes.” In this way, she examines the various aspects of identity, particularly the personal and cultural.Additionally, she underscores the distinctions between man and beast in relation to human identity by exploring their respective definitions.

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In fact, as Trefry is confiding in Oroonoko/Caesar, he tells him of his infatuation with Clemene.

Ironically, Oroonoko is not yet aware that Celemene is in fact his long-lost love Imoinda and thus, he views her as any common slave.

With English readers in mind, Behn describes Oroonoko in a favorable, even glorified, manner so that these readers can acknowledge him as a heroic prince.

For example, Oroonoko has a French tutor to educate him in all areas, from science to etiquette. Middle There is no further mention of these slaves sold with Oroonoko.

Although Behn's work may be perceived as an abolitionist narrative, in my opinion, Oroonoko is far from an anti-slavery text.

In introducing the text, the editor, Catherine Gallagher states: "In Oroonoko, slavery is portrayed as a practical, economic matter..." (p 16).Finally, Behn posits identity as a malleable concept, which changes with context and other external influences.According to the Oxford English Dictionary, identity is “who or what a person or thing is…a set of characteristics or a description that distinguishes a person or thing from others.” The latter In fact, Oroonoko is only referred to as Caesar in the passage.Oroonoko's own support of the master/slave relationship is evident as he says: "...[I] wonder how she escapes those who can entertain her as you can do; or why, being your slave, you do not oblige her to yield" (p 71).This statement provokes the idea of ownership, that Oroonoko/Caesar believes that Trefry's slaves are his property and he may do with them as he wishes. Conclusion The final scenes of Oroonoko are the most interesting and solidify the idea that the novel is not an anti-slavery text.Furthermore, he says, “my dear Friends,” wielding the possessive to claim the other slaves as his peers, specifically (52).His later use of the pronoun “you” uniquely engages both the individuals and collective before him (52).In this way, he unifies the group and later gains their unanimous sympathy when they “all” respond with “one accord,” (53).Still, regardless of whether the elevated, heroic diction employed comes from Oroonoko or the narrator, Behn uses it to distinguish him anew.Notably, the narrator endorses this Anglicized individual while she neglects the Coramantien collective.Behn presents an opposing perspective through Oroonoko himself.


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