The Royal Slave Blog Post

The Royal Slave is a short novel written by Aphra Behn that was published in 1688. The story is about the life of an African prince named Oroonoko, and his love called Imoinda. Both characters give their love to each other, planning to get married. Although the king overhears their conversation and tries to force Imoinda to be one of his wives. Soon… The story takes a turn when they are tricked into slavery and are sold to British colonists in Surinam. After winning a tribal war, Oroonoko and his men go to visit an English captain, and they end up getting drunk and shackled. (This is where Oroonoko meets the narrator, which I find very, very interesting.) Oroonoko, the African prince, is told that his wife had been executed, and he believed it until he found out the truth that she had been forced into slavery. The reason the African prince (Oroonoko) believed his love (Imoinda) had been executed is because they both believed that death is better than being a slave. Although this is not only their thoughts but a very popular opinion during this time, I think a majority of people would even agree nowadays. Anyways, Oroonoko is purchased by a man named Trefry, although he is given special treatment due to his education and ability to speak English and French. (Trefry thought highly of this, as anyone should.) Soon, Oroonoko finds out that Imoinda was on the same slave plantation as him.

Fast forward… Oroonoko, the black prince, finds himself being heavily involved in a slave rebellion in order to free the surrounding slaves and his love Imoinda.  

When I had first read this short novel, I had begun to create a connection between The Royal Slave and the movie Django: Unchained, a film by Quentin Tarantino. In the film, Django is taken under his arm by a bounty hunter named Dr. Schultz. He makes Django agree to one thing, to help him with his bounty hunting and in trade, he will help Django reunite with his wife. Django takes the deal and becomes the sidekick of Dr. Schultz, the bounty hunter, and he ends up being reunited with his love, just like Oroonoko and Imoinda. The reality of slavery and being separated from loved ones is shown so realistically in both the novel The Royal Slave and the film Django: Unchained.


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