Oroonoko: A Fallen God, a Slave to Honor
...'twas amazing to imagine where it was he learned so much humanity; or, to give his accomplishments a juster name, where 'twas he got that real greatness of soul, those refined notions of true honour, that absolute generosity, and that softness that was capable of the highest passions of love and gallantry...(10-11)
So states the narrator of Aphra Behn's Oroonoko: Or, the Royal Slave. The narrator alludes in the above quotation to Oroonoko as a royal king but throughout the novella implies additional meanings to words "Royal Slave"; Oroonoko is "stately, magnificent, splendid" as well as "finely arrayed; resplendent; grand or imposing". Oroonoko's "stately" royalty suggests an elevation not only above other slaves because of his social status, but his "refined notions of true honour" raise him above even the most powerful white men later in the novella. Likewise, the word "slave" carries multiple meanings. Oroonoko is not a slave in the literal sense, as the narrator comments that Oroonoko suffers "only the name of a slave, and...nothing of the toil and labour of one," but rather a slave to practicing his high ideals of honor (46).
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 786 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 5453 literature essays, 1625 sample college application essays, 212 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in