Interpretive Analyses – Oroonoko
Oroonoko is an interesting and heroic story of a young African prince who gets deceived into becoming a slave. The story is told by the narrator who remained nameless. The story seems to have various sides, ( I was myself an eyewitness a great part of what you will find here set down; and what I could not be witness of , I received from the mouth of the chief actor in this history, the hero himself.. pg 301 Behn) When we first meet Oroonoko he is described physically by the narrator very accurately and in depth to where you can picture him.
The narrator does a descriptive job of detailing all of the physically defining features that Oroonoko holds. He is even fit to a description by the narrator as being an absolutely flawless human being with no imperfections except for the fact that he is black. He is described as (…”not of that brown, rusty black which most of that nation are, but a perfect ebony, or polished jet. His eyes were the most awful that could be seen, and very piercing, the white of them being like snow, as were his teeth.
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His nose was rising and Roman, instead of African and flat; his mouth, the finest shaped that could be seen, far from those great turned lips which are so natural to the rest of the negroes. The whole proportion and air of his face was so noble and exactly formed that, bating his color, there could be nothing in nature more beautiful, agreeable, and handsome. There was no one grace wanting that bears the standard of true beauty. ” Pg 305, Behn). The narrator shows how she might have been physically attracted to Oroonoko.
The story hit a lot of issues and situations. Oroonoko gives readers an opportunity to hear an epic story through the eyes of a woman, which was very odd back then. The story showed a European and native superiority, anti-colonialism, slavery, and the female narrative voice. Overall Oroonoko story was great and the main test of his endurance was when Oroonoko lost his wife to the king, and he became a slave. Aphra Behn’s story of Oroonoko is beautifully written. The story takes the reader through the twists and turns of a portion of a young African Prince’s life.
However, with the narrator telling the story in the first person perspective we can only concur that what is being said may or may not be biased. As we see in the descriptions of Oroonoko, and even in the way Behn phrases her words, there is some clear favoritism going on. All in all, Oroonoko is a wonderful story that is narrated beautifully, but when one reads it, you must be aware of the first hand perspective and the bias because the events that happen could be exaggerated or understated by the narrator.