PETIK.NET - Oroonoko is a novel by Aphra Behn, published in 1688. It tells the story of a noble African prince who is enslaved and taken to Suriname, a British colony in South America. There, he falls in love with a beautiful slave girl, Imoinda, and leads a revolt against the brutal plantation owners. Oroonoko is a remarkable work of literature, as it is one of the first novels in English, one of the first works by a female writer, and one of the first works to portray Africans in a sympathetic and humanizing way. In this article, we will explore the themes, characters, and historical context of Oroonoko, and analyze why it is still relevant and influential today.
Who was Aphra Behn?
Aphra Behn was a remarkable woman who lived in the 17th century. She was a playwright, poet, translator, essayist, and spy. She is often considered the first professional female writer in English literature. She wrote Oroonoko based on her own experiences in Suriname, where she had traveled as a spy for King Charles II. She witnessed the horrors of slavery and the oppression of the native people. She also claimed to have met and befriended Oroonoko himself, although some scholars doubt the authenticity of her account.
How is Oroonoko relevant today?
Oroonoko is a novel that still resonates with modern readers, as it raises important questions and issues that are relevant today. For example:
- How do we define and respect human rights and dignity?
- How do we confront and resist oppression and injustice?
- How do we deal with the legacy and impact of slavery and colonialism?
- How do we celebrate and appreciate cultural diversity and difference?
- How do we balance and reconcile love and duty, freedom and loyalty, reason and passion?
Oroonoko is a novel that invites us to reflect on our own values and beliefs, and to empathize with the experiences and perspectives of others. It is a novel that inspires us to be more compassionate, courageous, and critical.
Why is Oroonoko important?
Oroonoko is a groundbreaking novel for several reasons. First, it challenges the stereotypes and prejudices that Europeans had about Africans at the time. Oroonoko is not a savage or a brute, but a noble, educated, and heroic figure. He speaks several languages, knows Latin and French, and has a refined taste in art and music. He is also a loyal and faithful lover, who respects and honors Imoinda. Behn portrays Oroonoko as a victim of injustice and cruelty, not as an inferior or a threat.