“Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can rarely dwell. Hope never comes
That comes to all, but torture without end
Still urges” (92).
“With shudd’ring horror pale, and eyes aghast,
They view their lamentable lot, and find
No rest!” (99)
In The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Equiano quotes many English works such as the quote above from John Milton’s Paradise Lost. One of the main themes in Paradise Lost is the importance of obedience to God. Equiano stated in his autobiography that, “In the first paroxysm of my grief, I called upon God’s thunder, and his avenging power, to direct the stroke of death to me, rather than permit me to become a slave, and be sold from lord to lord” (92). Being a slave, Equiano could never fully rest and always had to be left with the worry of being sold to another “lord” (master). I believe that Equiano uses these quotes to identify how he was a man of God, and how he is well educated for a slave. Equiano uses these religious references in order to allow his readers to know he is religious and to help them relate more to him. He is more likely to be related to and liked as he was baptized and religious like they are. By selecting these quotes Equiano relates how at the time the English language was accessible to him, even though he was a slave and used these quotes to describe his view on slavery. Equiano is demonstrating how the English language is easily understood and can be used by all who are able to understand it. Equiano is proclaiming the salvation of Christ, and speaking the truth of how the English language is easily understood and completely full of confrontation. Using the words and phrases such as “sorrow,” “torture without end,” “horror,” and “No rest” help to shed light on the way the slaves were treated in Equiano’s time. Equiano would rather rely on God to find a way out of the “torture and sorrow” as a way to feel more connected to the Christian community reading his work.