TITLE

Captains and Slaves: Aphra Behn and the Rhetoric of Republicanism

AUTHOR(S)
Chernaik, Warren
PUB. DATE
April 2002
SOURCE
Seventeenth Century;Spring2002, Vol. 17 Issue 1, p97
SOURCE TYPE
Review
DOC. TYPE
Book Review
ABSTRACT
In Behn's Oroonoko , the hero's speech inciting his fellow slaves to revolt, in which he eloquently points out ‘the miseries and ignominies of slavery’, and his bitter remarks after the defeat of the rebellion, on the folly of ‘endeavouring to make those free, who were by nature slaves’, echo the rhetoric and concerns of seventeenth-century republicans, whose arguments depend on the antithesis of freedom and slavery. This article examines the extent to which ideas of natural freedom play a role not only in Oroonoko but in early modern attacks on the slave trade by such authors as Thomas Tryon. In addition, the paper examines the association of slavery with conquest in battle in Oroonoko and in the writings of Hobbes, Locke, and other political theorists, as well as the idea, expressed memorably in the writings of Milton, of ‘choosing a captain back for Egypt’, self-enslavement through fear of freedom.
ACCESSION #
6772974

 

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