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Book source: Oroonoko, Aphra Behn, Oxford University Press, 1994. ISBN 0-19-282892-4

Subject: [Literature] Oroonoko

Article:

Oroonoko is a short novel written by Aphra Behn (1640-89). It was published in 1688. It is a Romeo-Julliet story which begins in Africa and ends in Suriname.

It tells the story of an African prince Oroonoko, who loves Imoinda as does the king his grand father. Imoinda is sold as a slave because she rejected the old king's advances. She ends up in Suriname which was not known to Oroonoko. Suriname was still under British rule in this novel.

The king of this African country sold his country men off as slaves. One day an English ship arrived and the captain invited prince Oroonoko to come aboard for a meal and drinks. When they had enjoyed their meal and wine the prince and his entourage were so drunk that they were easily taken prisoner and the ship hoisted sail with destination Suriname.

Prince Oroonoko was sold to a British gentleman Trefry who liked and admired the prince. Oroonoko's slave name was Caesar. Soon after his arrival he learned that Imoinda was also on the same plantation and she had the slave name of Clemene.

Clemene is soon pregnant and Caesar's request to be set free remain futile. He inspires a slave's revolt but is betrayed and cruelly beaten. Later he kills Clemene and the unborn child and is executed for the murder.

Behn went to Suriname around 1663 and returned to England in 1664.


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