Love, Sacrifice, and a Lynching


Love, Sacrifice, and a Lynching

When rethinking Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, many feelings or thoughts arise. The txt conveys a very intimate narrative, based on the claim of Aphra Behn’s true and unadulterated story.

Now, the validity of circumstance, places events with which, the author is held as an eye witness, or had close hand experience, or had empirical knowledge to say the least (p.6).

Nonetheless, this aspect of validity for Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, has become very problematic, yet does that not make the truth unreal? That is to say, the lynching of Oroonoko, where his body parts or limbs, were then spread around for all to see. “And turning to the men that bound him, he said, ‘My friends, am I to die, or be whipped?” The quote in my opinion illustrates not only a first person narrative, or eye witness account, as well as a formal decree, within the stories context of a lynching.

The following paragraph to those previous mentioned words, are quite brutal, yet would be the similar scene, in my opinion, as to the ones captured in pictures of the 20th century.However, this is not 19th century when  Aphra Behn was writing in fact this quote from Oroonoko, “He had learnt to take tobacco, and when he was assured he should die, he desired they would give him a pipe in his mouth ready lighted, which they did, and the executioner came, and first cut off his members, and threw them into the fire; after that, with an ill-favoured knife, they cut his ears, and his nose, and burnt them (p.72).” In other words her quote from Oroonoko was written in the 17th century.

That is to say, Oronooko, as Aphra Behn, wrote in the 17th century, placed the transcontinental slave trade from an imperial viewpoint as well as illuminated her reader’s minds to images of what would be termed lynchings of the 17th century, and tells of how the body parts of Oroonoko were passed around to other plantations in America, such as Colonel Martin. (p.73),

Now, apart from the brutality of Oroonoko, Behn relays a powerful story of love, culture, virtue and vice. As, moved as I was, the first time I read Oroonoko, I have continued to find myself leisurely looking inside the novella, for insights to strengthen my own character.

In closing, in my opinion, this novella is a powerful, and informing, work. One that illuminates areas of race and culture, where before other narratives of the 17th century may have sought to marginalize the African women. However, the story of Oroonoko builds on the life, thoughts and emotions, of Imoinda a Black female African, the wife of Oroonoko.

Also was display in Oroonoko was Imoinda’s character and her actions. Imoinda was an African female, striving for love in the face of the overwhelming odds.

In closing, Aphra Behn told the love story of King Oroonoko and his Queen Imoinda, while illustrating the true prejudice and racism of the slave trade in 17th century America.


The Perception of Moors in Europe, Featuring a Shakespearean Narrative


The Perception of Moors in Europe, Featuring a Shakespearean Narrative

Ania Loomba, in her book, Shakespeare, Race and Colonialism, expounds in great detail the vehement racism, which existed in England and was described in the play, Othello.

Loomba embarks on this journey of race, bringing light to the conversation of “Blackness,” what that means in England, its perceptions within theology, and ultimately sex, as well.

Loomba’s narrative begins with Othello, a Black Moor, who seemingly, amidst his wealth, is an outsider within his Venetian town. Furthermore, Loomba’s use of Othello generates a discussion of who Othello actually is and what his perceived vices may actually exist.

For in this discussion of Othello, Loomba highlights Othello’s religion of Islam, as being a social issue. Keeping in mind the Moor’s and Jews were expelled from Spain under Queen Isabella, in the year 1492, and Shakespeare’s Moor of Venice or Othello was performed in or around 1604.

Also, very interesting is Loomba’s linguistic use of the word fornicate, which she traced back the etymology revealing and has stated, “ the word fornicate”, the OED tells us, means lechery as well as a space that is arched, vaulted like an over or furnace’. The association between furnace and lechery in the figure of the bath attendant is established via his blackness; conversely, it reinforces with literal as well as sexual heat.(p.50)” In other words, from my opinion, the connection Loomba is making yet not clearly stating, are the racist and prejudice opinions during 16th century England.

In closing, Loomba provides her readers with a preponderance of the evidence, which leads reason beyond a reasonable doubt that in fact, that there were “Moors,” who were Black followed Islam and lived in Europe during the 16th century.

Yet, another example of the prejudice and vehement racism which existed during the 16th century of Europe, has been couched in Loomba language when she provides her readers with name “The merchant of Venice,” where Loomba states, “This hypothesis certainly reverberates with “The Merchant of Venice” where the threat posed by Moors both tawny and black, male and female, living in Venice and outside it) is both contrasted to and mirrored by the threat posed by the Jews who live within Venice.(P.148)”  What Loomba has indicated in this passage, has been the racist and prejudice perceptions of those Europeans, inside of Europe’s 16th century, who appear to be outsiders in their own land, due in part to their culture, religion, and/or, overall “Blackness.”

In closing, Loomba has provided a narrative of sex, race, and colonialism, which have been coupled and couched in the language of 16th century Europe. In my opinion, Loomba has been, nothing short of eloquent, while still examining the harsh realities, which encompasses the narrative of sex, race, and colonialism of the 16th century.