However, during his “several months” (Steele 675) in Barbados, Inkle transcends classist and racial boundaries. Through his immediate attraction to “the limbs, features, and wild graces of the naked American” (675), Inkle disregards traditional Eurocentric stereotypes about native savages, and chooses to enter into a sexual relationship with Yarico. Although he reverts back to mercenary ideology upon boarding “a ship’s crew of his countrymen” (675), Inkle overlooks class boundaries as he perpetuates the moral absence of an “uncivilized civilized man” (Ladd) by opposing the proper, gentlemanly, 2
Mooreand reputable Christian standard of the English merchant. Likewise, Oroonoko manages to transcend both racial and classist stratifications by becoming the “Royal Slave”: an oxymoronic title in nature. He is described as having fine, Romanesque features with “perfect ebony” (Behn 206) skin, a stark contrast to the commoners of his “gloomy race” (205) with typical “brown, rusty black” (206) skin and flat, animalistic features. Regardless of his superior beauty, his skin isblack, allowing for “common and noble to trade places” (Doyle 107) and Oroonoko’s enslavement alongside those whom he enslaved. By accepting the name ‘Caesar’ from Trefry, Oroonoko transcends the classist and racist standards for slaves and embraces his royal past.The presence of Eurocentric ideology within relationships between Imoinda and Oroonoko, the King, and the men on the plantation, as well as Inkle and Yarico reaffirms the pre-existing patriarchal and paternalistic perspectives in both English and Others’ societies. Men who wish to appease their personal sexual desires objectify and capitalize on the beauty of Imoinda and Yarico. The women’s “sexuality is oddly evocative of the characteristics of … a commodity” (qtd. in Bhattacharya 30), thus establishing women below men in terms of status and agency and paternalistically enforcing their lower status.The King of Coramantien manifests paternalism in his desire to take advantage of female capital. He has “many beautiful black wives” (Behn 205) and concubines, but takes Imoinda from Oroonoko in an abuse of royal power and spanning of hierarchical division, and adds her to his other female “possess[ions]” (207). By being treated as a commodity, Imoinda’s agency is stripped away, therefore reaffirming her class below the King, as well as her lower status as a woman beneath a man. Similarly, both white superiors and enslaved black men on the plantation view Imoinda as a sexual object, thus 3
Moorereinforcing the gendered hierarchical class differences between men and women and suggesting that capitalizing upon female sexuality is worth crossing social and racial boundaries; “for [a] hundred white men [have] sigh[ed] after her” (206). Along with the slaves, Trefry admits to being enamored by “the most charming black that ever was beheld on their plantation” (221) and dreams of using his “advantages of strength” (221) to act indecently towards Imoinda. This libidinousness is indicative of
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