Aphra Behn

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Prince Oroonoko

The last descendant of the King of Coramantien, Oroonoko was raised away from the court to be a skillful warrior by Imoinda’s father. The narrator stresses that he is extraordinarily handsome, intelligent, and… read analysis of Prince Oroonoko

Imoinda (a.k.a Clemene)

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… read analysis of Imoinda (a.k.a Clemene)

Narrator (Aphra Behn)

The narrator is a female Englishwoman, and possibly the direct voice of the author, Aphra Behn, who lived in Suriname for a while and may have had similar experiences to the narrator. Almost the whole… read analysis of Narrator (Aphra Behn)

King of Coramantien

Over 100 years old, the king is Oroonoko’s grandfather. He has many wives, both old and young. As the culture of his society is highly patriarchal, the king’s word is law, and his lust… read analysis of King of Coramantien


A young warrior and good friend of Oroonoko, Aboan is basically Oroonoko’s “wingman.” He pretends to be in love with the much older Onahal, one of the king’s old wives, to help… read analysis of Aboan
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A former wife of the king, Onahal takes charge of Imoinda after she becomes a concubine. Onahal’s beauty has long since faded, and she is now sort of a head housekeeper of the Otan, the… read analysis of Onahal


Jamoan is the leader of the opposing army that besieges Oroonoko’s troops. For most of the fight, the lovesick Oroonoko pines for the presumed death of Imoinda. When Oroonoko returns to his senses, however… read analysis of Jamoan

The Captain

A seemingly well-bred and genteel English sea captain, the Captain, as he is called, first pretends to be Oroonoko’s friend. The Captain is welcomed at the Coramantien court and treated like a royal guest… read analysis of The Captain


Trefry is a young Cornish gentleman in Suriname. He is skilled in math and linguistics, and manages Governor Byam’s affairs. He also speaks French and Spanish. Trefry buys Oroonoko from the Captain and, after… read analysis of Trefry


Tuscan is a slave in Suriname who stands out from his fellow slaves, not only because he is taller than the rest, but also because he has a “noble look” about him. He joins Oroonokoread analysis of Tuscan

Governor Byam

A deputy governor in Suriname, Byam is not afraid to use low and dishonorable tactics to keep things running smoothly on the sugar plantations. He is not well regarded amongst the colonists, who all love… read analysis of Governor Byam

Colonel Martin

A British colonel in Suriname, he is very well-respected amongst the colonists and is a dear friend of Oroonoko, who trusts his judgment like a child trusts a parent. Colonel Martin deplores the actions… read analysis of Colonel Martin
Minor Characters
Imoinda’s father
An old and acclaimed general of Coramantien, and the father to the beautiful Imoinda. The general saves Oroonoko’s life during a battle by stepping into the path of an arrow aimed at the prince. He dies, and Oroonoko becomes the next general.
Exiled from France for his heretical opinions, the Frenchman becomes Oroonoko’s tutor and teaches him morality, languages, and science. Though he is not very religious, the Frenchman is nevertheless very moral. He stays by Oroonoko’s side after Oroonoko is captured and sold into slavery.
A rich and uncouth Irishman, Banister carries out Byam’s orders to kidnap the recovering Oroonoko from Parham house and transport him to the whipping post. Banister is a member of the infamous Council, a body composed of former convicts and other ruthless characters led by Byam.
Lord Governor
Though he never actually appears in the work, the Lord Governor is the head authority of the colony and is responsible for all the plantations. Oroonoko waits impatiently for his arrival to petition him to free him and his wife, but Oroonoko is murdered before he arrives.