Alternate Version of Text
A public domain version of Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, or the Royal Slave, from the University of Adelaide. This website provides an onscreen version as well as several downloadable versions.
Background and Interpretation
Biography of Aphra Behn from the Poetry Foundation.
Oroonoko by Aphra Behn is a very interesting narrative that includes many genres, which, in the Norton Anthology of English Literature, the headnote on Behn states that the work, “cannot be classified as fact or fiction, realism or romance” (2309).
As you begin reading, you may find these reading questions about the first part of the book to be helpful.
- How does the narrator express her claims of the truthfulness of the story?
- Where is the story initially set? (That is, where is Oroonoko from?)
- How is Oroonoko first described?
- How does Oroonoko meet Imoinda?
- What are Imoinda’s experiences in the otan? What happens when Oroonoko visits her there?
- Who is Aboan? Who is Onahal?
- What is Imoinda’s crime (in the eyes of the king)? What is her punishment?
- After leaving Imoinda, how does Oroonoko show valor in the field of battle?
- Who is Jamoan? How does he feel about Oroonoko?
- How is Oroonoko captured and made a slave?
- What is Oroonko’s initial reaction to being enslaved?
- What is the captain’s reaction?
- Where is Oroonoko taken to be sold?
- Who is Trefry?