Oroonoko Section Two Summary & Analysis

Aphra Behn


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Oroonoko Section Two Summary & Analysis

Section 2 Summary: Oroonoko

Cormantien, the narrator tells us, is an African nation that acts as a trading post for slaves. It is a warlike country and has many slaves—people captured in battle—to sell. The King of Cormantien is an old man with many wives whom the narrator notes are beautiful, even though they are black. His sons having all been killed, the King’s heir is his grandson, Prince Oroonoko, who possessed a “Beauty, so transcending all those of his gloomy race” (10).

As well as being astoundingly handsome, he is a natural warrior and a capable leader. He is also intelligent, having been tutored by a Frenchman, and can speak some English and Spanish too. In fact, “in all Points address’d himself as if his Education had been in some European Court” (11). Though the narrator had heard of Oroonoko before she met him, she tells us that she was still surprised by greatness.

During a battle, Oroonoko’s life was saved by his grandfather’s most senior general, who died to save the prince. This general had a daughter, Imoinda, and after the battle, Oroonoko visits her to pay his respects and to present her with the slaves that would have been her father’s.

Imoinda is incredibly beautiful, as well as graceful and modest, and Oroonoko immediately falls in love with her. She reciprocates his affection and Oroonoko promises, contrary to custom, to be monogamous and to love and marry only her. Imoinda agrees to marry him and the ceremony takes place in secret; the narrator cannot give us details of the wedding because she “forgot to ask” (16).

Meanwhile, having heard of Imoinda’s beauty, Oroonoko’s grandfather, the king, has decided that he wants her as his wife and is furious to learn that she is his grandson’s mistress. The king sends a trusted servant to Imoinda with a gift, pretending it is from Oroonoko to try and gauge her feelings for him. He is disappointed to learn that she loves Oroonoko; however, he refuses to let that stop him. He is used to being treated not just as a king, but as…

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