Oroonoko slavery and antebellum
The couple decides that he should kill her, and so Imoinda dies by his hand. Here, Behn raises Imoinda's appearance and value above the standards of a whitened sense of European beauty.
He argues that variations present in plantations, overseers, and masters gave the slave "much more freedom from restraint and more independence and autonomy than his institutionally defined role allowed. Neither was Allin of noble blood, nor was his cause against Willoughby based on love.
This dismay is enacted in the novel in a graphic fashion: if the English, with their aristocracy, mismanaged the colony and the slaves by having an insufficiently noble ruler there, then the democratic and mercantile Dutch would be far worse. Oroonoko metaphorically acts as the European master in this scene himself.
The narrator opens with an account of the colony of Surinam and its native people. Despite the irrationality of their choice for their own rational self-interest, the slaves bow and consent to his perceived deific preeminence.
At the same time, it is fairly clear that she was not happy in marriage, and Oroonoko, written twenty years after the death of her husband, has, among its cast of characters, no one more evil than the slave ship captain who tricks and captures Oroonoko. As such, it is, in fact, the white colonizers who are shown as being animalistic and uncivilized through their brutal treatment of the natives and the way in which they disturb the previously peaceful land that they once lived upon.
At the same time, this novel is as much about the nature of kingship as it is about the nature of race. The slaves, including Imoinda, fight valiantly, but the majority surrender when deputy governor Byam promises them amnesty. Therefore, the extent to which he provides a model for Oroonoko is limited more to his crime and punishment than to his plight. For one thing, the narrator says that her father was set to become the deputy governor of the colony and died at sea en route. The English Captain plans to sell the Prince and his men as slaves and carries them to Surinam , at that time an English colony, in the West Indies. However, if Behn left Surinam in , then she could have kept up with matters in the colony by reading the Exact Relation that Willoughby had printed in London in , and seen in the extraordinary execution a barbarity to graft onto her villain, Byam, from the man who might have been her real employer, Willoughby. Oroonoko seems oddly out of place in the rapidly changing social, political, and philosophical nuances of his world; he is a pillar of ancient aristocratism caught in the shifting tides of transnational politics. His nose was rising and Roman, instead of African and flat. This is the atmosphere for the writing of Oroonoko. Neither was Allin of noble blood, nor was his cause against Willoughby based on love. The narrator regards the indigenous peoples as innocent and living in a golden age. Blassingame explains, "Our sense of self-esteem is heightened or lowered by our perception of the images others have of us. Stampp admits that "few ask what the slaves themselves thought of bondage.
Yet, when Oroonoko displays his aristocratic nature and mentality and implores the slaves to ascend to his social level rather than engaging the slaves on their own, they do rise to his appeal.
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