Oroonoko Analysis

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Anti-colonization and dehumanization in Oroonoko

In Oroonoko, Aphra Behn sheds light on the horrors of slavery and expansionism that Britain was conducting while assembling its overseas empire. Behn paints the majority of the white colonists as unmitigated illustrations of greed, dishonesty, and brutality. Through these depraved individuals, Behn regularly articulates the barbarism innate in British nature as opposed to the African prince Oroonoko, whom is conveyed as the quintisential model of nobility, physical prowness, and honor. These reoccuring motifs apparent throughout the literary work reveal Behn's intention of undermining the inhumane treatment of the colonized populice and the criticism of overseas expansion. Upon close examination of the literary work, one could conclusively view Aphra Behn's Oroonoko as an assailment against the dehumanization of the colonized people and a subtle criticism of Britain s external colonization.

The first account of Behn's anti-colonization position begins with the introduction of the native Indians of Surinam, of whom have been tainted and stripped of their virtue due to the intrusion of the British. The natives of Surinam are depicted as living in perfect peace in a world enshrouded in beauty and innocense. The narrator of the tale stated that, "… these people represented to me an absolute idea of the first state of innocense, before man knew how to sin" (2184). Behn goes further to compare the natives to Adam and Eve when the narrator explains that the aprons the natives wear are similar to the "fig leaves" that Adam and Eve wore (2184). By establishing this description of the natives, one can begin to veiw the natives as innocent as Adam and Eve before the fall of man. This allusion to biblical scripture illustrates that just as Adam and Eve were corrupted by Satan, the natives innocense is corrupted by the Europeans. The narrator incontestably gives this implication when she states, "They have a native...
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