Slavery and power in Behn’s Social Context; A New Historicist Reading of Oroonoko
Keywords:Aphra Behn, Oroonoko, New Historicism, Power Relations, Discourse
The aim of this article is to illustrate how power works within Behn’s Oroonoko in light of New Historicism. Behn’s standpoint concerning slavery is quite unsettling, many arguments have been proposed concerning this issue. It is intended to shed light on how slavery is perceived for Behn and through her outlook, it becomes possible to illustrate how English colonialising power acts in opposition to whatever that aims to subvert it. Discourse is a vehicle of power and in this paper, many discourses are analysed to depict the essence of power. Language through discourses has managed to control and reproduce what is known as the truth. By shaping the truth in alliance to the dominant power it becomes possible to subvert and contain the opposing resistance. This article illuminates how truth is shaped for the subjects of power (mainly Oroonoko and his Wife) by the proposed discourses of the narrator who is also considered as Behn herself.