Slavery and power in Behn’s Social Context; A New Historicist Reading of Oroonoko



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.


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Author Biography

Younes Poorghorban, MA Graduate of English Literature, Kurdistan University, Iran

Younes Poorghorban is a MA graduate of English Literature from university of Kurdistan, Iran. His interests are particularly, Victorian literature, Cultural Studies, New Historicism, Post colonialism, and Marxism. He graduated from Razi University for his Bachelor’s degree and he is currently doing research related to cultural studies. Poorghorban’s previous academic article was a New Historicist study of Widower’s House by George Bernard Shaw.



How to Cite

Poorghorban, Y. (2020). Slavery and power in Behn’s Social Context; A New Historicist Reading of Oroonoko. International Journal of Language and Literary Studies, 2(4), 42–50.