Discuss the theme of anti-colonialism of “Oroonoko”.

Discuss the theme of anti-colonialism of Oroonoko.

Or, discuss Oroonoko as an anti-colonial novel.

Introduction: Anti-colonialism means the struggle against imperial rule in colonized countries. The novel Oroonoko expresses a revolution against colonialism which is why it is considered anti-colonial.

Treachery of Colonialism: Treachery is the natural character of colonial rulers. In the novel, the British slave-trading captain initially becomes friendly with Oroonoko but then betrays and sells him to Trefry. Byam pretends friendship with Oroonoko and promises him freedom, but he betrays him and finally puts him to death.

Struggle against imperial rule: When Caesar and his followers revolt against Byam, Byam’s army pursue them with different kinds of arms like rusty useless guns, whips, old basket-hilts, and long staffs. Then Caesar takes up a defensive mood, placing women and children to the back, and stands with Tuscan to fight to the death. The English men attract them and kill some of his followers. When Caesar flees with other Negro slaves, he is met with treason. At this point, Clemene saves the situation by shooting Byam with a poisoned arrow. Byam offers Caesar that if he surrenders, he will be set free with his wife and child, and he is given full respect as Prince.

Attempt to remove slavery system: Oroonoko is cheated by Byam that is why he revolts against Whites and wants to remove slavery but he fails to take revenge on them. So, he plots a plan that at first he will kill his beloved wife Imoinda then he will remove the slavery system, and later he will kill himself but fails again. Caesar faces harsh punishment after being captured.

Brutality of Slavery System: Under the instruction of Byam, Oroonoko was seriously whipped. That is why he wants to take revenge on Byam and all those who had sought to enrage him. But he knows that revenge is impossible because he is the only single person, and its result is dead.

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Death Scene of Oroonoko: Under the instruction of Byam, Banister cuts Oroonoko’s genitals and throws them into the fire. Then the other white men cut off his ears and nose and threw these into the fire. At that time, Oroonoko smokes continuously. Finally, his arms and legs are cut, and he dies. At last, his body is cut into pieces. The pieces of his body are sent to many chiefs of the Surinam colony.

Insecurity generation after generation: There is no liberation in the life of slavery. We all know that the king’s son becomes king. Similarly, the sons and daughters of slaves have to be enslaved. We can analyze if Oroonoko had not rebelled for liberation, he would not have died. Ultimately, Oroonoko could be seen living as a slave. He had to endure horrible torture. From this, we can explain nicely that there is no liberation in the life of slavery. This slavery continues from one generation to the next generation.

The torture of slavery: The novel Oroonoko depicts the kind of torture that enslaved 18th-century slaves. The maids were forcibly deprived of their chastity. Men were beaten. If they had tried to escape for the first time, they would have been saved, but many would have been tortured. Oroonoko’s death is the ultimate example of the oppression of slavery. 

Conclusion: So, we can say that this novel is the best paradigm of anti-colonialism because it expresses a movement against colonialism.

Azizul Haque
Azizul Haque
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