Oroonoko

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Imoinda (a.k.a Clemene) Character Analysis

Imoinda is described as a “black Venus,” corresponding to Oroonoko as the “black Mars.” To the narrator, Imoinda perfectly complements Oroonoko in beauty and virtue. Her beauty often brings her unwanted attentions from men, however, even in the New World. This is a particularly big problem in Coramantien, where Imoinda catches the eye of the king. He takes her as his concubine, even though he knows she has pledged her love to Oroonoko and married him. Imoinda remains true to her husband, however, but this brings about her downfall when the king sells her into slavery. Not long after being reunited with Oroonoko in Suriname, Imoinda becomes pregnant. She then fights alongside Oroonoko to gain liberty and a better life for their unborn child. She is handy with a bow and arrow, and wounds Governor Byam during a slave uprising. Imoinda is also incredibly obedient to Oroonoko, and accepts her own death and her unborn child’s murder at his hands out of the abundance of her love for him.

Imoinda (a.k.a Clemene) Quotes in Oroonoko

The Oroonoko quotes below are all either spoken by Imoinda (a.k.a Clemene) or refer to Imoinda (a.k.a Clemene) . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism Theme Icon
).
1. Oroonoko in Coramantien Quotes

Imoinda is as irrecoverably lost to me as if she were snatched by the cold arms of death… Oh! she is never to be retrieved… unless I would either ignobly set an ill precedent to my successors, or abandon my country, and fly with her to some unknown world who never heard our story.

And I have observed, 'tis a very great error in those who laugh when one says, "A negro can change color": for I have seen 'em as frequently blush, and look pale, and that as visibly as ever I saw in the most beautiful white. And 'tis certain that both these changes were evident, this day, in both these lovers.

To describe her truly, one need say only, she was female to the noble male; the beautiful black Venus to our young Mars; as charming in her person as he, and of delicate virtues. I have seen a hundred white men sighing after her, and making a thousand vows at her feet, all in vain, and unsuccessful.

3. Slavery in Suriname Quotes

I was infinitely glad to find this beautiful young slave (who had already gained all our esteems, for her modesty and her extraordinary prettiness) to be the same I had heard Caesar speak so much of…we paid her a treble respect; and though…we took her to be of quality before, yet when we knew Clemene was Imoinda, we could not enough admire her.

5. Oroonoko’s Revenge Quotes

All that love could say in such cases being ended, and all the intermitting irresolutions being adjusted, the lovely, young, and adored victim lays herself down before the sacrificer; while he, with a hand resolved, and a heart breaking within, gave the fatal stroke, first cutting her throat, and then severing her yet smiling face from that delicate body, pregnant as it was with the fruits of tenderest love.

He tore, he raved, he roared like some monster of the wood, calling on the loved name of Imoinda. A thousand times he turned the fatal knife that did the deed toward his own heart, with a resolution to go immediately after her; but dire revenge, which was now a thousand times more fierce in his soul than before, prevents him.

I hope, the reputation of my pen is considerable enough to make his glorious name to survive all the ages, with that of the brave, the beautiful, and the constant Imoinda.

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Imoinda (a.k.a Clemene) Character Timeline in Oroonoko

The timeline below shows where the character Imoinda (a.k.a Clemene) appears in Oroonoko. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. Oroonoko in Coramantien
Honor  Theme Icon
...is five. He is trained by the country’s best and oldest general, the father of Imoinda, who becomes Oroonoko’s foster-father. By age 17, Oroonoko has become an expert captain, one of... (full context)
Love and Obedience Theme Icon
Freedom and Slavery Theme Icon
...chronological sequence of the narrative, the narrator reminds readers that the death of Oroonoko’s mentor (Imoinda’s father) has huge consequences other than just bringing Oroonoko back to court. Apparently the old... (full context)
Love and Obedience Theme Icon
Not much time passes before Oroonoko pays a second visit to the fair Imoinda. Shortly thereafter, the brave warrior, unused to talking with women, professes his love for her... (full context)
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Importantly, Oroonoko vows that Imoinda will be the only woman he marries, “contrary to the custom of his country.” Even... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
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...is still interested in women, and has many wives and concubines. When he hears of Imoinda’s beauty, the King immediately decides that he has to find out if she is worth... (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
Love and Obedience Theme Icon
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...hardly dissuaded by this news, however. One day when Oroonoko is out hunting, he brings Imoinda to the palace, wanting to discreetly observe her and her feelings towards Oroonoko. One of... (full context)
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Suspecting nothing, Imoinda is naturally overjoyed to receive what she thinks is Oroonoko’s gift. She expresses her feelings... (full context)
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Decided on this plan, the King immediately sends the royal veil to Imoinda. In Coramantien this is a universally understood symbol that denotes “the ceremony of invitation,” and... (full context)
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When Imoinda receives the veil, she is horrified, but she also knows that “delays in these cases... (full context)
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...has ordered a bath to be prepared, and he is sitting in the tub when Imoinda finally arrives. He coarsely tells her to take off her clothes and come to his... (full context)
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Imoinda explains that she is still a virgin, and says that she would gladly give her... (full context)
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The King is furious that Imoinda is trying to deny him, and she is terrified to be doing so. To make... (full context)
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Oroonoko returns from his hunt and finds Imoinda missing. When he finds out that she has been presented with the royal veil, he... (full context)
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...side. Oroonoko takes some comfort in this idea, and decides that he has to see Imoinda to find out if she is still a virgin. However, getting into the Otan to... (full context)
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...meantime, the King is suffering, too. Not only does he feel bad about taking away Imoinda from his noble grandson, but every time he is with Imoinda, her weeping reminds him... (full context)
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...has been asking his friends and attendants how he’s been coping with the loss of Imoinda. Concerned about Oroonoko’s safety, they all lie and tell the King what he wants to... (full context)
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...his true feelings, Oroonoko convinces the King that he is no longer in love with Imoinda. Eventually Oroonoko is invited to the Otan to dine. (full context)
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Despite being able to fool the King, when Oroonoko sees Imoinda for the first time since she’s been taken away, he blushes deeply and almost faints.... (full context)
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Imoinda is overjoyed to see Oroonoko so pained, because now she knows that he still loves... (full context)
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...her tactics and tries to console Oroonoko by telling him that the King cannot do Imoinda any real harm, because the King cannot perform when he tries to have sex with... (full context)
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...Onahal gives Oroonoko new hope, and allows him to act unconcerned when the King and Imoinda emerge from the bedroom. The King requests entertainment, and his concubines and young wives all... (full context)
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...of a woman who is sexually available. Plus, knowing of Oroonoko’s longing to be with Imoinda, he sees an opportunity to help his friend by seducing Onahal. Aboan flirts with Onahal... (full context)
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...so that Aboan can ask her to help orchestrate a secret meeting between Oroonoko and Imoinda. Aboan readily agrees, and the two are both impatient to return to the Otan. (full context)
Betrayal Theme Icon
...out, however, and Oroonoko must go to the front lines. He vows to meet with Imoinda the next time he goes to the Otan before he leaves. Though Oroonoko doesn’t realize... (full context)
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...the Otan arrives, Oroonoko senses that this will be his last chance to be with Imoinda before they are separated again. He urges Aboan to do his best with Onahal. At... (full context)
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All this time, the King is engrossed in the dancing and focuses on Imoinda, who seems prettier than ever because Onahal has been giving her news about Oroonoko. Oroonoko... (full context)
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Everyone in the court sees how happy Oroonoko is to hold Imoinda. He is so excited to have her in his arms that he clasps her close,... (full context)
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Seeing this exchange, the King’s jealousy flares. He stops the entertainment and drags Imoinda away, sending word behind him that the Prince must depart for war immediately—if Oroonoko stays... (full context)
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Behind closed doors, the King confronts Imoinda. He thinks she and Oroonoko planned her fall, and he doesn’t listen when Imoinda protests... (full context)
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...lets them in. They relay this information to the King. Meanwhile Onahal leads Oroonoko to Imoinda’s apartment, and then drags Aboan to her own. (full context)
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Oroonoko approaches the sleeping Imoinda and awakens her with his caresses. Imoinda is still a virgin, and this, the narrator... (full context)
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...they hear a great commotion in the Otan. Hearing the voices of many men outside Imoinda’s chambers, Oroonoko springs out of bed and grabs his battleax to fend off the intruders.... (full context)
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Freedom and Slavery Theme Icon
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Shortly thereafter, the enraged King confronts Imoinda and Onahal. Hoping to buy Oroonoko time and save his life, both women lie and... (full context)
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...reason to do all he did. But the King mostly repents of his cruelty to Imoinda out of fear of retribution from Oroonoko. He knows that in selling her he acted... (full context)
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The messenger arrives as Oroonoko is preparing for battle. Oroonoko guesses that Imoinda is dead from the messenger’s downcast looks. The messenger also informs Oroonoko of the King’s... (full context)
2. Kidnapped
Love and Obedience Theme Icon
Freedom and Slavery Theme Icon
...hope to redeem the Prince. Oroonoko, however, considers his capture to be punishment for leaving Imoinda behind to be murdered. Needless to say, the Captain reneges on his promise to free... (full context)
3. Slavery in Suriname
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During the dinner, Trefry, who “loves to talk of love,” tells Caesar about Clemene, the beautiful “she-slave” whom everyone, white men included, is in love with. Trefry thinks that... (full context)
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The next day, Trefry and Caesar go on a walk, and Trefry points out Clemene’s house. Suddenly, a little dog runs out, followed by Clemene. Clemene tries to run back... (full context)
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...Caesar’s love and befriend her. She remarks that after this incident, the colonists now pay Imoinda a “treble respect.” Before, they had respected her for being beautiful and virtuous, but now... (full context)
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Soon after reuniting, Caesar and Imoinda get married “to the general joy of all people.” Not long after, they conceive a... (full context)
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The narrator tells Caesar and Imoinda stories about the lives of the Romans, which Caesar enjoys, and she also tries to... (full context)
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...because he cannot handle alcohol. She also notices that he grows less content the more Imoinda’s pregnancy develops, as he doesn’t want his child born a slave. He assuage the narrator’s... (full context)
4. Oroonoko’s Revolt
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The narrator diverts Caesar through these outings for some time. However, as Imoinda enters the late stages of her pregnancy, Caesar grows more restless. One Sunday, while the... (full context)
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...and leave the fighting to Caesar. Soon, only two fighters remain beside Caesar, Tuscan, and Imoinda. The rest have fled. (full context)
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Imoinda is quite skilled with her bow. She wounds several of the whites with her poisoned... (full context)
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Imoinda has not seen Caesar’s punishment, as the Parhamites made sure to lock her up inside... (full context)
5. Oroonoko’s Revenge
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Freedom and Slavery Theme Icon
Byam, meanwhile, has been recovering from Imoinda’s poisoned arrow, and has also been planning his own revenge against Caesar. He calls his... (full context)
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...trouble him, but what makes him truly sorrowful is thinking about what will happen to Imoinda and his child. He imagines that Imoinda will be raped by all the men and... (full context)
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To carry out his plan, Caesar gets Trefry to let him take a walk with Imoinda, alone. They walk to a secluded forest, where Caesar gazes at his wife longingly. Then,... (full context)
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Caesar stabs Imoinda, and then lays her body on a heap of leaves and flowers. His grief swells... (full context)
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Though still bent on revenge, Caesar finds that he cannot leave Imoinda’s side. He lies down beside her and does not stir for two days. He is... (full context)
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Back at the plantation, the colonists begin to worry when Caesar and Imoinda don’t return from their walk. They think that some accident has befallen the pair. A... (full context)
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...shocked to see the state Caesar is in, and inquire what he has done to Imoinda. He points to the pile of leaves, and they call him a monster for murdering... (full context)
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...Caesar’s “glorious name,” as well as that of “the brave, the beautiful, and the constant Imoinda.” (full context)