Is Oroonoko a anti slavery text?

I did not find Oroonoko about freeing slaves. Behn does touch on the horrible fates that many slaves endured, but Behn seems to be telling a story more so than convincing the wealthy to stop buying slaves. First Behn starts by describing why Europeans associating with the Native Americans. It was for trading. They traded with them for their”fish, venison, buuffaloes, skins, and little rarities.” (Behn 203). She then goes onto say that she thought these people were innocent. However, if this was an anti slavery text, she would not be describing how they first started to trade with, or at least, not in the pleasant tone that she uses. If she was writing an anti slavery text, she would be more passionate and getting right to the point about how slaves were treated.

Also, Behn mentions the King of Comamentien and how he was “a hundred and odd years old, and had no son, though he had many beautiful wives.” (Behn 205). This is not relevant to the topic of anti slavery.

When she finally gets to the story of Oroonoko, that is just it; a story. Most of the text is most of his life story, such as all his agonies of love and also talked about the king. So to me, this is not an anti slavery text. If it was, the whole text would have focused on how cruel his life was,, and his fight for his freedom which would have drawn the anger and agony out of the readers, showing them the truth of the treatment of slaves, but instead, it is more of a story instead of the truth.

One thought on “Is Oroonoko a anti slavery text?

  1. All good points. Not to mention the depiction of all the other African slaves as somehow deserving their fate, and the casual mentions of Oroonoko himself as a slave owner and trader.


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