Oroonoko and Caesar

Dublin Core


Oroonoko and Caesar


Names and Identity


Oroonoko is forced to change names, and reclaims his own in the events leading up to his death


Michael Einhorn


Behn, Aphra. Oroonoko : Or, The Royal Slave, The Floating Press, 2009. ProQuest Ebook Central,


The Floating Press




Michael Einhorn








Novel Exert


Oroonoko Name Annotation

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Oroonoko was first seized on, and sold to our overseer, who had the first lot, with seventeen more of all sorts and sizes, but not one of quality with him. When he saw this, he found what they meant; for, as I said, he understood English pretty well; and being wholly unarmed and defenseless, so as it was in vain to make any resistance, he only beheld the captain with a look all fierce and disdainful, upbraiding him with eyes that forced blushes on his guilty cheeks, he only cried in passing over the side of the ship, "Farewell, Sir, 'tis worth my sufferings to gain so true a knowledge both of you and of your gods by whom you swear." And desiring those that held him to forbear their pains, and telling 'em he would make no resistance, he cried, "Come, my fellow-slaves, let us descend, and see if we can meet with more honor and honesty in the next world we shall touch upon" (Behn 56).

I ought to tell you that the Christians never buy any slaves but they give 'em some name of their own, their native ones being likely very barbarous, and hard to pronounce; so that Mr. Trefry gave Oroonoko that of Caesar; which name will live in that country as long as that (scarce more) glorious one of the great Roman: for 'tis most evident he wanted no part of the personal courage of that Caesar, and acted things as memorable, had they been done in some part of the world replenished with people and historians that might have given him his due (Behn 60).

No, I would not kill myself, even after a whipping, but will be content to live with that infamy, and be pointed at by every grinning slave, till I have completed my revenge; and then you shall see that Oroonoko scorns to live with the indignity that was put on Caesar" (Behn 102).

Caesar replied, this was the first piece of bravery that ever Banister did, and he never spoke sense till he pronounced that word; and, if he would keep it, he would declare, in the other world, that he was the only man, of all the whites, that ever he heard speak truth. And turning to the men that had bound him, he said, "My friends, am I to die, or to be whipped?" And they cried, "Whipped! no, you shall not escape so well." And then he replied, smiling, "A blessing on thee"; and assured them they need not tie him, for he would stand fixed like a rock, and endure death so as should encourage them to die; "But, if you whip me," said he, "be sure you tie me fast" (Behn 113).

Original Format



Michael Einhorn, “Oroonoko and Caesar,” Enlightenmens, accessed March 22, 2023, http://enlightenmens.lmc.gatech.edu/items/show/380.

Output Formats