Essay Sample on The Slavery Practiced in the Kingdom of Oroonoko

Published: 2023-11-24
Essay Sample on The Slavery Practiced in the Kingdom of Oroonoko
Essay type:  Response essays
Categories:  Analysis Slavery Books
Pages: 2
Wordcount: 500 words
5 min read

Question 1

I disagree with whether the slavery practiced in the Kingdom of Oroonoko can be fairly differentiated from that practiced in the European culture. Behn represents the perpetuated slavery engaged by the Coramantien people, she gives a detailed description of how African tribes sold their prisoners to Europeans as chattel. In an example, Oroonoko was beaten up and pepper was applied on his wounds to shows the harsh treatment that the slaves went through. In Suriname setting racist attitudes brought about slavery and superiority and was pervasive – blatantly racist white colonist like Byam tortured their slaves into submission while treating Oroonoko as their equal since he held a higher position and also upheld the enslavement of blacks bought in Africa. In both administrations’ slavery was a condition that the men in authority unleashed thus restricting freedom of the ones who submitted to them, making any distinction on slavery will be simply seen as “making excuses”.

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Oroonoko 's belief in the idea of liberty and independence is very ironic as he grows tired of being a save in his imprisonment, but during his reign as a prince he did not mind selling the captives of war as slaves. His freedom and self-determination are expressed as he grows tired of waiting for permission from Lord Governor to return to Coramantien. He utilizes his post as a natural leader in the slave society to manipulate his fellow slaves in planning an escape, and ran away with him to liberty.

Question 2

I support the fact that Behn uses the novel to question the superiority of European cultures. In her quote, “And I have observed ‘tis a very great error in those who laugh when one says, A negro can change color” for I have seen them as frequently blush, and look pale, and that as visibly as ever saw in the most-white.” This depicts how whites never treated the natives as their social equals. To them, they were just primitive and acquitted people who only became useful only when their survival skills were needed. They even regarded African people to be more physically conditioned in the handling of grueling work of the maintenance of plantations. Behn illustrates colonization at its best where all her white colonist characters (Banister and Byam) torture slaves into submission. Trefry participates in upholding enslavement of blacks by silent assent. He is seen to be more enlightened.

However, the coming of Oroonoko obscures the hierarchy and the racist insolences that maintain it. Oroonoko tends to have the good traits that the typical slave didn't have. This causes the colonialist high esteem to remain tainted by the prince because of their contempt for his nonconforming qualities. He is therefore recognized as a king, and never does a slave 's work. The conclusion of Behn’s portrait of her African prince was intensely Eurocentric basing on his character and physical appearance.


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