Aphra Behn’s, “Oroonoko” is definitely a story that revolves around betrayal. Much of the conflict that resounds in Oroonko throughout the story is based on actions of betrayal. Oroonoko, the royal slave, is constantly surrounded by one betraying act after another. In the beginning of the story Behn portrays Oroonoko and Imoinda as beautiful creatures. They were destined to be together. The betrayal of the king by stealing Imoinda away from Oroonoko for himself was ultimately the utmost deceiving act a grandfather could portray against his grandson.
The old king was so smitten by Imoinda’s beauty he wanted her for himself, despite knowing that Oroonko and Imoinda were privately vowed to one another. “He was therefore no sooner got to his apartment but he sent the royal veil to Imoinda, that is, the ceremony of invitation; he sends the lady he has a mind to honor with his bed a veil, with which she is covered, and secured for the King’s use; and ‘tis death to disobey, besides held a most impious disobedience”(Behn 2320).
Next we read where Oroonoko meets back up with a captain and commander that he once had sold his own slaves. The captain “wines and dines” Oroonoko and entertains him so that Oroonoko fell hard in a trap the captain had decisively laid out to capture Oroonoko. Once the prince was drunk with wine he was curious to look over the ship. The captain quickly took the opportunity to seize him and forced him into great irons and thrown in with the rest of the slaves on the ship.
The text reads, “and betrayed into slavery”(Behn 2332). In closing, Oroonoko faced many trials and betrayals in his life that were physically and emotionally malicious and ultimately destructive. From the betrayal of his own grandfather lusting after his one true love to being tricked by the captain, a man he trusted, into slavery. Oroonoko “resented this indignity, who may be best resembled to a lion taken in a toil… and tired by rage and indignation, he laid himself down, and sullenly resolved upon dying”(Behn 2332).