The Life of Olaudah Equiano

What audience is Equiano trying to reach? Which of his arguments would have been most convincing to his various readers? Why?

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Equiano applies to the government of Britain to hear his plea. His plea is for the freedom of the slaves, and this is a difficult subject to get the Queen of England to listen to. His book is dedicated "to the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain." Thus, his intentions are to elicit the Queen's "compassion for millions of [his] African countrymen," and to show the "oppression and cruelty exercised to the unhappy negroes" to the Queen and the British legislature so that they might in turn play a part in the abolition of slavery. The government of Britain was not likely to jump right on the abolitionist band wagon though, because slavery and colonialism was incredibly profitable for them. Because of this, Equiano had to utilize British language and methods of writing, and Christianity in order to get the attention of the British aristocracy.This reveals one obvious audience that Equiano intended to reach, but there were inevitably others. Others may have included abolitionists, historians curious about the effect of the slave trade on blacks, and even many Europeans interested in the popular novels of the day. Action-adventure-travel stories (to which genre Equiano's story at least partly belonged) were immensely popular.

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