Oroonoko By Aphra Behn Summary

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The life of an African slave has historically been considered one of the great tragedies that Europe inflicted on the world. This notion is emphasized throughout the Aphra Behn’s work of prose fiction Oroonoko: or, The Royal Slave, wherein the life of the titular character is provided from his time as a Prince in Africa, to that of a slave in the New World. The story is considered to be one that blurs the boundary between fiction and historically accurate facts, with many aspects fitting into both categories. This challenge to the dichotomous nature of the genres is evident in Behn’s depiction of the slave trade, along with her emphasis on humanistic ideals throughout Oroonoko and the style of narrative selected. The fashion in which the text describes the life of Oroonoko, named Caesar by the local elite, on the plantation in Suriname, suggests that Behn was a witness to many of the events described in the novel, bolstering the argument that Oroonoko is a historical work. This notion is supported by the…show more content…
This notion is emphasized in the very first lines of the story, where she states that “it shall come simply into the world, recommended by its own proper merits, and natural intrigues; there being enough of reality to support it, and to render it diverting, without the addition of invention” (147). In suggesting that there has been no alterations made to how Oroonoko’s life unfolded, Behn is attempting to indirectly distance herself from the work due to fear of backlash from the morality of the character of Oroonoko. Notably, Behn uses this introduction to the work as a means of preparing her readers for the radical ideas displayed by Oroonoko, and as a result, makes it appear as though it is an undeniable truth for there is no evidence to suggest that this did not take place (Dickson
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