Honor And Expediency In Oroonoko, The Royal Slave

Better Essays
Honor and Expediency in Oroonoko the Royal Slave Julius Caesar once said: “I love the name of honor, more than I fear death”. In her book- Oroonoko, or the Royal Slave, Aphra Behn offered Oroonoko the highest quality of character in her mind: honor. Honor, defined as “high moral standards of behavior” or “a person of superior standing whose worth brings respect”. As Honor becomes an ideology, it controls one’s thought, behavior, and actions. As Caesar claimed, even the fear of death cannot overcome a man of rectitude. In the story of Oroonoko, he and his wife held the honor above life, while the old king and the English trader valued self-interest above all else. Caught between death and slavery, between honor and expediency, Oroonoko chose…show more content…
When his beloved Imoinda was stolen, “this raised him to a storm, and in his madness they had much ado to save him from laying violent hands on himself” (pg. 2190). Being a man of virtue, it was hard to remain an innocent by stander when such disservice is done unto thee. How much easier it would have been to simply let your emotions rule, but Oroonoko “would give way to hope, because it pleased him most, and flattered best his heart.” Oroonoko, a man worth of respect, swore that to violate his…show more content…
Oroonoko had full experience of betrayal by the captain, who trough deceit managed to sell all of Oroonoko’s people; but unlike the expedient captain, Oroonoko “nimbly leaped into the boat, and showing no more concern, suffered himself to be rowed up the river with his seventeen companions” (pg. 2204). Even in the most unpropitious of circumstances, between characters of different moral values remained honorable. To love honor more, than to fear death, shall be the moral of all men; who by shall virtue continue on, through swamps of live and valleys of death. Oroonoko, portrayed honor in its full meaning through his high moral standings and respect. Unlike him and his cherished Imoinda, the old king and the captain, not only did not value honor, but acted expediently in all actions and thoughts. Throughout his difficult life, Oroonoko stayed true to his principles even while caught between men who valued honor and those who did
Get Access