Oroonoko Essay

This essay has a total of 697 words and 4 pages.

Oroonoko

Oronooko is an excellent play by Aphra Behn that discusses a large array of wonderful
themes. The story's main character depicts a person of power. He was in a sense eventually
forced to empathize with those he unintentionally caused a great deal of harm to. Oronooko
a man of royalty participated in the selling of African slaves. An African himself saw
nothing wrong in doing this; this was an accepted part of his culture. He befriended the
British and lived a life envied by those he persecuted.

It's ironic how his very friends (the British) became those people he learned to hate;
they became his masters. The story has a nice turn of tales. A man once full of power, now
forced to interpret life from the other end of the life cycle. Behn clearly illustrates
how there are mainly two extremes in life; Oronooko lived on both ends of these extremes.
He went from possessing outstanding amounts of power to encompassing almost none.


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The novel forces the reader to slightly sympathize with Oronooko. He was made to feel the
pain of his people (something he never thought he would have to do). Although a man of
ignorance he became a man of knowledge. He was ignorant to what true betrayal was,
ignorant to love, ignorant to the beliefs and pain of others. Behn was trying to teach her
readers a lesson of living empathetic lives. This moral although helpful was revealed in
such a brutal yet effective manner.

This play teaches us about the life cycle and how vicious it could be. It shows us what
lengths enlightenment will pursue in order to complete this cycle exposed through the eyes
of Oroonoko. Restoration for Oronooko was a first hand experience unavoidable and
inevitable. The play is again excellent in exposing us to life's inescapable karma, a
clear and evident themes throughout the novel.

Through brilliant language and the usage of symbolism, Bhen allows us to see what was
happening to Oronooko in the most memorable scene. "He had learned to take tobacco, and
when he was assured he should die, he desired they would give him a pipe in his
mouth….The executor came and first cut off his members and threw them in the fire.

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"….They cut his ears and his nose and burned them; he still smoked on, as if nothing
touched him. "This is a great example of visualization through the text, it is quite easy
to picture the scene here taking place in great detail. " Then they hacked off one of his
arms, his head sunk, and his pipe dropped, and he gave up the ghost…. "(Behn 2193) This
is a clear example of symbolism in the novel. Those well versed in the Bible will noticed
that this is parallel to how Christ was murdered. He never spoke a word while he was being
tortured, his people persecuted him and in the end "he gave up the GHOST".

Continues for 2 more pages >>




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