Zora Neale Hurston

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King of Dahomey Character Analysis

The leader of a neighboring tribe much more powerful than Cudjo’s. The King derives his strength by cooperating with European slave traders and selling neighboring villagers as slaves. In Cudjo’s retelling, the King declares war on his tribe on a false pretext in order to capture civilians for sale as slaves.
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King of Dahomey Character Timeline in Barracoon

The timeline below shows where the character King of Dahomey appears in Barracoon. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
...people to sell. Still, the King claims that he only makes war when a neighboring kingdom has insulted him. In this way, “whole nations” are “exterminated” by the slave trade. (full context)
Chapter 2
Cultural Relativism Theme Icon
...unlike in America, Africans can’t use insanity as a defense in criminal trials. Eventually, the king pronounces that the man is guilty and sentences him to execution. Just as before, the... (full context)
Chapter 5
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
One day, three men from the neighboring kingdom of Dahomey arrive in the market, asking to talk to Akia’on. They warn the king... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
When the soldiers find Akia’on, they take him to the king of Dahomey, who is waiting in the bush outside the village. Akia’on asks why the... (full context)
Chapter 6
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
When they arrive at Dahomey, Cudjo sees the king’s house; it looks as if it is made of bones. People come out to meet... (full context)
Chapter 8
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
...did in Africa. They appoint Gumpa as leader because he is a relative of the king of Dahomey and a nobleman in their native land. No one resents his Dahoman heritage,... (full context)