Impassioned speech about slavery by Oroonoko

Dublin Core


Impassioned speech about slavery by Oroonoko


Excerpt from Oroonoko where Oroonoko/Caesar convinces his fellow slaves to revolt.


Aphra Behn


Behn, Aphra, and Janet Todd. Oroonoko, or, The History of the Royal Slave. Penguin, 2003.


Penguin Classics


Originally published in 1688; Penguin Classics published in 2003.


Neha Bhatia


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And why (said he) my dear friends and fellow-sufferers, should we be slaves to an unknown people? Have they vanquished us nobly in fight? Have they won us in honourable battle? And are we by the chance of war become their slaves? This wou'd not anger a noble heart; this would not animate a soldier's soul:--- no, but we are bought and sold like apes or monkeys, to be the sport of women, fools and cowards; and the support of rogues and runagades, that have abandoned their own countries for rapine, murders, theft and villanies. Do you not hear every day how they upbraid each other with infamy of life, below the wildest savages? And shall we render obedience to such a degenerate race, who have no one human vertue left, to distinguish them from the vilest creatures? Will you, I say, suffer the lash from such hands?


Aphra Behn, “Impassioned speech about slavery by Oroonoko,” Enlightenmens, accessed February 6, 2023,

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