Oroonoko Essay, Research Paper
Coromantien was a part of Africa, which in the seventeenth century was one of the chief resorts of the slave traders. Its king was a man of more than a hundred years old. Thirteen of his sons died in battle, and he had left for a successor one grandchild, called Oroonoko. He was sent into the field to be trained to war as soon as he could bear a bow. At the age of seventeen he became one of the bravest and most expert of captains. The old General, a father-like figure, who had trained Oroonoko in war, had left at his death his only daughter Imoinda, in which fell in love with Oroonoko. The only thing that held their love apart was Oroonoko?s grandfather, the King.
When he came back from war victorious, he became the object of admiration. His face was a perfect ebony and his eyes were the most awe-inspiring that could be seen and very piercing. ?His face was not of that brown?but a perfect ebony?His eyes were the most awful that could be seen?? (Behn 1870-1871). He also spoke English and French with ease.
When Oroonoko made his first visit to her, he was infinitely surprised at the beauty of this woman. The softness in her look and signs gained a conquest over his fierce heart. Oroonoko stayed not too long before he made a second visit and waited not much longer before he told her he adored her. He then vowed to Imoinda that she shall be the only woman in his life and she condescended to receive him as her husband. ??He made her vows she should be the only woman he would possess while he lived?? (1872).
Unfortunately, it was necessary to obtain the consent of the King. At the report of Imoinda?s beauty the King?s heart felt new sparks of love. Quickly he sent to Imoinda the royal veil. In this country whoever receives the royal veil is for the King?s use or else punishable by death. ?He sends the lady he has a mind to honor with his bed a veil, with which she is covered, and secured for the King?s use; and ?tis death to disobey?? (1873). Upon the arrival of this news the lovely maiden was seized with grief. The despairing Imoinda told the King that her heart belonged to another man through devotional vows. ??And tell him she was another?s?? (1873). For fear of the King?s vengeance upon Oroonoko, she swore herself still a maid and the King put her among his other wives.
The same night the King held a soiree. As the royal ladies danced for the entertainment of the King, Imoinda, rather than the steps she took, pretended to fall, caused Oroonoko to jump up and catch her. ?But while she was more regarding him than the steps she took, she chanced to fall, and so near him as that, leaping with extreme force from the carpet, he caught her in his arms as she fell?? (1878). The King overwhelmed with jealousy ordered Imoinda to her apartment and Oroonoko to go to the camp. The Prince felt that he couldn?t depart till he had seen his beloved once more.
By the clever management of his friend Aboan, assisted by a former mistress of the King, Onahal, Oroonoko was led to Imoinda?s apartment. As the joyous Imoinda was awakened by the Prince, there was contentedness beyond imagination of the two young lovers thus to meet. As they occupied their time together a loud noise was heard in the Otan. Spies ordered by the King tracked him down. He revenged with death any intruder by crying out:
Whoever ye are that have the boldness to attempt to approach
This apartment thus rudely, know that I, the Prince Oroonoko,
Will revenge it with the certain death of him that first enters.
Therefore stand back, and know, this place is sacred to love and
Me this night; tomorrow `tis the King?s. (1880)
The King?s officers withdrew and Oroonoko fled. The enraged monarch ordered Imoinda and Onahal to be sold as slaves to some other country. This sentence, which was worse than death was immediately and secretly carried out. The King sent a messenger to Oroonoko to inform him that Imoinda was dead.
After a while the Prince in compliance to his grandfather?s wishes, returned to court. There he met a sea captain with whom he often trafficked for slaves. Soon the captain invited Oroonoko and his men to a banquet on his ship. As the men were enjoying the splendid feast and wine Oroonoko and his men were suddenly shackled and soon found themselves in slavery. ?So that the captain, who had well laid his design before, gave the word, and seized on all his guests; they clapping great irons suddenly on the Prince?? (1885).
While in slavery, Oroonoko was informed of a beautiful woman by the name of Clemene. When he went to meet her it miraculously turned out to be Imoinda. They got married and were soon to bear a child. With the child on the way it made him more impatient for liberty. Every day he made an offer of gold and slaves in exchange for their freedom. Day to day he was fed with promises and he soon feared the matter was purposely postponed until the birth of his child, who would be born into slavery. He did not want this to happen so he led a rebellion. ?An ass, or dog, or horse, having done his duty, could lie down in retreat and rise to work again?Will you, I say, suffer the lash from such hands?? and they all replied ?No, no, no; Caesar has spoke like a great captain, like a great king,? (1901).
The militia pursued the rebellious slaves. Oroonoko bound to a stake and whipped in the most inhuman manner. Soon after Oroonoko still felt he must have revenge on the Governor. He did not want to leave his wife and child as prey to the white men. One day he decided to tell Imoinda of his plan which was to first kill her, then his enemies, and finally himself. His heroic wife pleaded for death as the only way of escape for them and the child. She then told him to propose his plan. He then embraced her, drew his knife, and killed her.
When Oroonoko finally realized what he has done, his grief became a raging madness. He turned the knife to his heart many times but the desire of revenge prevented him. When he came to the conclusion that he took the life of the dearest creature that Nature ever made; he lay down beside her for two days. A party of white men found him and brought him back to the plantation where he recovered and explained the motives that led him to sacrifice his wife. The Governor seized Oroonoko and tied him to post in which there was a fire built around it, and was told he should ?die like a dog.? ??And causing him to be tied to it, and a great fire made before him, he told him he should die like a dog, as he was,? (1910). The executioner came and first cut of his genitals, then his ears and nose. After being cut up, the several pieces of his body were sent to several of the chief plantations.
Thesis Statement: The old General, a father-like figure, who had trained Oroonoko in war, had left at his death his only daughter Imoinda, in which fell in love with Oroonoko. The only thing that held their love apart was Oroonoko?s grandfather, the King.
I. Backround of the King
A. Was a man of more than a hundred years old.
B. Thirteen of his sons died in battle.
C. Had left for a successor one grandchild, Oroonoko.
II. Description of Oroonoko
A. Trained in war at young age.
B. Became one of the bravest captains.
C. Object of admiration
III. Oroonoko declares love for Imoinda
A. Vows proposed to Imoinda
IV. King falls for Imoinda
A. King sends royal veil
B. Maiden pleads to be freed
C. Imoinda gives in
V. Oroonoko and Imoinda reunite
A. Assisted by Aboan and Onahal to sneak into apartment
B. King?s officers track down Oroonoko
C. Oroonoko cries out a death threat
D. Oroonoko flees
VI. Oroonoko meets a sea captain
A. Oroonoko and men invited to banquet on ship
B. They are seized and sold as slaves
VII. Oroonoko and Imoinda find each other in slavery
A. They get married.
B. Imoinda becomes pregnant.
VIII. Oroonoko leads a rebellion
A. Militia pursue rebellious slaves
B. Oroonoko captured and whipped
IX. Oroonoko plans revenge on Governor
A. He kills his wife so she and the child would not be left as prey.
B. Plans to kill all his enemies.
X. Oroonoko?s death
A. He was tied to a post
B. He was cut into pieces
C. Pieces distributed to chief plantations