Oroonoko as an Autobiographical Novel

Oroonoko as an Autobiographical Novel

Oroonoko as an Autobiographical Novel

Aphra Behn’s story of Oroonoko has many elements that catch the attention of readers, but the element of her story that seems most prevalent is romance. If the story of Oroonoko was true, the romance between different people is very focused on in the piece. If Oroonoko is an autobiography of Aphra Behn herself perhaps this is an account of the world through her eyes, or possibly the story is merely symbolic of her life. Symbolic meaning that perhaps during her time, slavery best stood for the feelings of not being loved that she experienced in her life. In taking the story of Oroonoko from an autobiographical perspective, romance still catches the eye more than any other theme.

Near the beginning of the piece on page ninety-six Behn talks about the natives of Surinam and how the men attract the women, and court the women through their eyes. This is the first of many references to romance either being kindled or fueled, in Behn’s story. History states that Aphra Behn was not known to have married, and if she were, the marriage ended as quickly as it began due to death or the need to part ways. Through Oroonoko there seems to be a longing of Ms. Behn to express her idea of true, selfless, whole-hearted love for someone. The characters that inhabit Oroonoko live out a romance that would have shocked readers in Behn’s era.

However, Aphra Behin is historically known to write pieces that included ideas new to her time. The characteristics of Behn’s romances are seen in the relationship written of between Oroonoko and Imoinda. The first time that Oroonoko sees Imoinda, Behn describes his feelings for her with very modest but sensual description. This meeting occurs on page one-hundred where Imoinda is described as the “Queen of Night” and is talked about until nothing else is heard throughout the city but her name.

Love at first site between the two characters is described in great detail down to the mentioning of the sighs that Imoinda released in the presence of Oroonoko. In order to describe such an accurate portrayal of love at first sight one must know love, or long for it with a passion. Behn is either letting her memories of love bring the moment to life, or is setting out a picture of love that most women would dream of.

Also Read:

The next mention of love that stands out occurs on page one hundred five where Onahal reminisces about love. This woman is described as “antiquated” (aged) and is recalling how “pleasant it was to be in love.” Behn further supports the fact that love surpasses age through a scene on page one-hundred one where Oroonoko proceeds to make vows of love to Imoinda. These vows say that Imoinda shall be Oroonoko’s only woman, which was not a custom of his country, and that in Oroonoko’s heart she will always be beautiful and bear the charms that she possessed at the time they united as a couple. From these vows Behn is putting faithfulness to one woman and the concept of everlasting love, out for the readers’ thought. Again, maybe Aphra Behn longed for these things to happen in her love life or is fondly remembering worth dying for how those kinds of vows felt to be heard.

In conclusion, Aphra Behn’s element of romance in the story of Oroonoko shows acts of love that she might have found to be desirable, or maybe wish she had never lost. Whatever the case, the love that is the love that Aphra Behn portrays in her piece.

Leave a Comment