The character of Oroonoko is even physically portrayed as lacking traits that may be considered typical of African people, instead possessing traits typical of Europeans. Aboan seduces Onahal, who quickly agrees to help the lovers, and Oroonoko and Imoinda spend the night together. Imoinda unwillingly, but dutifully, enters the king’s harem the Otan , and Oroonoko is comforted by his assumption that the king is too old to ravish her. Before Oroonoko leaves for war, he is determined to consummate his marriage to Imoinda. He is respected as a decisive leader among his people, which is especially seen when he and his people are captured into slavery and the other slaves refuse to eat while Oroonoko is chained. At the same time, in standard Restoration theatre rollercoaster manner, the play intersperses these scenes with a comic and sexually explicit subplot.

She molds Oroonoko in her own image, depicting him with European features despite his “ebony” flesh Behn Imoinda is portrayed as Oroonoko’s equal in the work; where Oroonoko is described as “Mars” 16 , Imoinda is described as “the beautiful black Venus” It is the play’s emphasis on, and adaptation to, tragedy that is partly responsible for the shift in interpretation of the novel from Tory political writing to prescient “novel of compassion”. Resigned to his death, Oroonoko asks for a pipe to smoke as Banister has him quartered and dismembered. Recognizing this and now thirsting for a more exacting revenge against Caesar, Byam changes tactics and tries to negotiate. Byam is such a skillful liar that even Trefry believes him too.

A description of Surinam and the South American Indians follows.

Oroonoko Summary & Study Guide

She fights alongside her husband to free themselves from slavery, and to obtain a better life for both themselves and their unborn child. Although Oroonoko himself is a native who later becomes a slave, he possesses the traits of those typically required of a king within a typically civilized society. The narrator and her family are put up in the finest house in the settlement, in accord with their station, and the narrator’s experiences of meeting the indigenous peoples and slaves are intermixed with the main plot of Oroonoko and Imoinda.

Coramantien is a brave and warlike nation that participates in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, selling prisoners of war to Western ships. Likewise, the narrator’s relatively inactive involvement in the story could also be viewed as a reflection of the way in which female writers of the time were viewed as well—silent and non contributing due to their male peers—especially with Behn herself being one of very few female authors of the time.


Oroonoko 4. Oroonoko’s Revolt Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

Scholars have argued for over a century about whether or not Behn even visited Surinam and, if so, when. The Old World changes as Behn recreates the trade route back across the Atlantic to Africa, instead of Europe, sparknoets “the first European author who attempted to render the life lived by sub-Saharan African characters on their own continent. Coramantien, the name given oroonook the author to what is now called Ghana.

Trefry mentions that he came to own a most beautiful enslaved woman and had to stop himself from forcing her into sex. Views Read Edit View history.

Oroonoko Summary & Study Guide

While at court, Oroonoko visits the daughter of his foster father, the beautiful and pure Imoinda. Oroonoko has all the qualities of an English royal, but xparknotes ebony skin and country of origin prevent him from being a reputable European citizen.

Ultimately, their strengths of aggression and beauty are exemplified through mythological parallels. Pages 1 — LitCharts uses cookies to personalize our services.

With the help of his good friend and fellow warrior, Aboansparknotds concocts a plan to do so. They’re like having in-class notes for every discussion!

Therefore, the extent to which he provides a model for Oroonoko is limited more to his crime and punishment than to his plight. Later, after winning another tribal war, Oroonoko and his men go to visit an English captain on his ship and are tricked and shackled after drinking. Follow Us on Facebook. The narrator sparkmotes Trefry continue to treat the hero as an honored guest.

Not to be confused with Orinoco. At the conclusion of the narrative, the narrator leaves Surinam for London. Trefry even cries a little. Imoinda being compared rooonoko a goddess of love is fitting of her character, for through reading the novella, readers can easily see that she is a character that is driven by love, particularly hers for Oroonoko.

Oroonoko in Coramantien 2. He has the English-like education and air, but lacks the skin color and legal status.

It is a mixture of theatrical drama, reportage, and biography that is easy to recognise as psarknotes novel. Despite his Intelligence saying she had been claimed by Oroonoko, the king gives Imoinda a sacred veil, thus forcing her to become one of his wives, even though she is already promised to Oroonoko. Comparisons with Mars, the God of warin the beginning of the novella provides a framework for Oroonoko’s rise as an admired warrior, while Imoinda’s relation to divinity is more feminine from the start, drawing a connection between her appearance, and that of the spakrnotes Venus, goddess of love and beauty in Roman myth.


Sales picked up in the second year after her death, and the novel then went through three printings. Whereas before, Caesar believed that some blacks deserved spsrknotes be enslaved particularly his prisoners of warafter experiencing the effects of slavery firsthand, he now feels a strong sense of sympathy and brotherhood for his fellow slaves.

Her plays have quite indistinct settings, and she rarely spends time with topographical description in her stories. Women within this time period were most often expected to remain silent and on the sidelines, simply observing rather than actively contributing, and the narrator in Oroonoko is a portrayal of that. There are names in the Yoruba language that are similar, but the African slaves of Surinam were from Ghana.

Caesar, as usual, places honor above all else. Sick and dying, he tells them of his plan to kill Byam. One figure who matches aspects of Oroonoko is the white John Allin, a settler in Surinam. Imoindathe love of Oroonoko’s life, is a beautiful African woman who is sold into slavery after Oroonoko attempts to rescue her. The narrative then returns to Surinam and the present: This page was last edited on 20 Februaryat One of the most notable features of the novel is that Oroonoko insists, over and over again, that a king’s word is sacred, that a king must never betray his oaths, and that a measure of a person’s worth is the keeping of vows.

Next, she provides the history of Oroonoko in Africa: Structurally, there are three significant pieces to the narrative, which does not flow in a strictly biographical manner. With Oroonoko, Aphra Behn took on the challenge of blending contemporary literary concerns, which were often separated by genre, into one cohesive work. The weapons they do sparmnotes are mostly for show, and few are actually functioning.

Pages 26 — The Parhamites are a calculating, sparknotez group that wants the mother and child to survive for their own purposes.