Captivity and Identity in Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko or, The Royal Slave (1688) and Penelope Aubin’s The Noble Slaves (1722).
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This dissertation intends to study how the issue of captivity exposes identity both religious and cultural to the threat of the Other in Aphra Behn's Oroonoko or, The Royal Slave. A True History (1688) and Penelope Aubin's The Noble Slaves (1772). It aims to argue that captivity has a great effect on the captive’s identity, religion and culture. To achieve our aim, we have relied on New Historicist principles and Michel Foucault’s concepts of power and domination that insist on the importance of the interpretation of literary works in relation to their historical context. This work consists of three main chapters. The first one deals with the representation of the issue of captivity and slavery in Oroonoko and in The Noble Slaves. The second chapter is about the effects of captivity on the captives’ identity, culture and religion in both narratives. The third chapter deals with the theme of resistance and subversive strategies that the captives adopt against their masters in order to preserve their culture that is threatened by the encounter with the Other. Our study reached the conclusion that the two narratives depict the system of slavery as inhuman as the two authors’ discourse tends to sympathize with the captives and misrepresent the captors who maintain the unjust system. The captors use their power in order to insure the domination of the captives. Finally, the latter adopt subversive tactics to eliminate or decrease their suffering as escape and rebellion.
- Département d'Anglais