Aphra Behn herself is a mysterious person, presumed to have been born in Kent, maybe Canterbury, it is debated who her parents were though it is a strong probability that she had some. She spent sometime in Suriname, a Dutch colony from the later s, but first settled by the English who introduced plantation slavery there, powered by imported African persons. In it she returns to Suriname where she was twenty or so years earlier. The story which she says she wrote in one continuous session, without a break, purports to be the story of the eponymous hero, an African Prince who she met and knew in Suriname.
Behn begins the story with a statement of her legitimacy as an author. Immediately, she breaks the form of classic Aristotelian fiction, which Aristotle describes as an imitation of nature as a whole. Aristotle BC — BC believed that fiction told what could happen instead of what did, making it superior to history, which is random and may not have a beginning, end, cause or effect.
Because she states that she is writing about true events, she begins her novel with this statement defending the legitimacy in order to make it believable to the reader: Throughout the novel, she gives extraneous detail, producing the experience of truth.
Oroonoko Oroonoko novel by aphra behn often interpreted as an anti-slavery novel because of the way the narrator describes the struggle and injustices of a Coromantin slave from the Gold Coast, what is present-day Ghana.
Inthe monarchy in England was restored. Behn lived through what has been called the most conflict-ridden period in British history. During this time, there were major debates on how the British government should be structured.
Aristotle believed that equality in politics is illogical because society exists by nature like a family and therefore must have hierarchy.
During this time period, two major philosophers wrote about democracy and the structure of government. Hobbes introduced the idea that a strong centralized government should exist, as long as it is made up of those that are governed. Locke took this idea further and proposed that the consent of those that are governed is needed to have an effective centralized government.
For example, when Prince Oroonoko is amongst the slaves, dawning the same clothing as them, he is still treated like a figure of authority: He begged Trefry to give him something more befitting a slave, which he did, and took off his robes: As soon as they approached him, they venerated and insinuated it into every soul.
So that there was nothing talked of but this young and gallant slave, even by those who yet knew not that he was a prince. This is a rejection of democratic society, where authority is given to everyone equally.
Through the character, Oroonoko, she shows that some people are meant to be in power. Behn consciously separates Oroonoko from the other slaves in his character description. She shows an obvious stigma against the other slaves and their races, yet, Oroonoko is described in a way that makes him powerful and unique compared to the others: His face was not of that brown rusty black which most of that nation are, but perfect ebony, polished jet…His nose was rising and Roman, instead of African and flat.
His mouth the finest shaped that could be seen; far from those great turned lips which are so natural to the rest of the negroes. The whole proportion and air of his face was so nobly and exactly formed that, bating his color, there could be nothing in nature more beautiful, agreeable, and handsome.
He represents a figure of authority, one that despite his race will have power over others.
Similarly, his slave name alludes to a reincarnation of all that is Rome, the model of civilization: Although she seems to have sympathy for slaves, she only has sympathy for those that are noble like Oroonoko.
This shows that Behn must have contradicting ideals like her novel. Later, Cesear defends the conditions that the slaves live in: In this time period, the Coromanti people were not uncivilized barbarians like the Africans described in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.
The Coromanti people were multilingual, involved in trade, and far from primitive. They were not colonized or overtaken.
Rather, slaves from the Gold Coast present-day Ghana were only obtained through war. Because of the slave trade, people that are taken were reduced to being treated as animals. If these individuals were not taken in war, it would be immoral to treat them this way. If this were an anti-slavery narrative, Aphra Behn should have ended it with the death of slavery.
Instead, she concludes her novel with the graphic death of Oroonoko: Her novel is neither pro- nor anti-slavery as some suggest.
It is simply a historical narrative meant to capture the complications of societal structures.Oroonoko study guide contains a biography of Aphra Behn, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
Oroonoko is a short novel written by English author Aphra Behn () and published in A full-length e-text is available online through kaja-net.comko is the story of an African prince who deeply loves the beautiful Imoinda. Oroonoko or, The Royal Slave. A True History Aphra Behn editie Philip Henderson bron Aphra Behn, Oroonoko.
Behn and her type of novel in Dr. Ernest Baker's History of the English Novel, vol. iii. Aphra Behn, Oroonoko. Oroonoko: or The History of the Royal Slave I DO not pretend. 'Oroonoko' is an early example of the novel genre, written by Aphra Behn and published in The story concerns the grandson of an African king.
Sep 30, · OROONOKO OR THE ROYAL SLAVE Oroonoko Summary Aphra Behn Oroonoko’s tale is told from the perspective of a female narrator, possibly Aphra Behn herself. The narrator claims to have known Oroonoko. Aphra Behn has books on Goodreads with ratings.
Aphra Behn’s most popular book is Oroonoko.