Racism in Aphra Behn's Oroonoko: A Critical Analysis

Classified in History

Written at on English with a size of 1.64 KB.

The novel Oroonoko: A Critical Analysis

The novel Oroonoko, written by Aphra Behn (1610-1689), is one of the most important works of its time. Behn tells the story of Oroonoko, the prince of Coramantien in Africa, who becomes a slave after his woman, Imoinda, is captured. Behn, who was against slavery, contributed to the beginning of the novel in England. This essay aims to discuss the signs of racism in the novel, where Behn, despite her anti-slavery stance, makes some racist comments that reflect the prevailing attitudes of the time.

Throughout the novel, Behn idealizes Oroonoko, using a literary technique known as the idealization of the hero. However, she also makes racist comments, such as describing Oroonoko's nose as 'rising and Roman, instead of African and flat' (Behn 8). This quotation personifies Oroonoko as a white man, rather than a black man, reinforcing the racism prevalent in European societies at the time.

Furthermore, Behn exaggerates Oroonoko's characteristics, elevating him to the level of a hero. She states, 'There was no one Grace waiting, the bears the Standard of true Beauty (...) all fine Wit is confined to the white Men, especially to those of Christendom' (Behn 8). This portrayal presents Oroonoko as a perfect being, akin to a white God with black skin. Behn's belief that only white men possess fine wit further perpetuates racist ideologies.

Entradas relacionadas: