Novel “Tamango”, written in 1829, continued the theme, common in the leading French literature – the colonial activities of whites and the oppression of the Negroes.
In the novel Merimee is given the image of a typical slaver, Captain Ledoux. He and his assistants are opposed by the Negro leader Tamango and his fellow tribesmen.
The author does not idealize the leader of the blacks. He shows his primacy and savagery. Tamango, like other Negroes, is ignorant, superstitious, acts by instincts, often selfish and cruel. But he has deeply human qualities that make Tamango superior to his enslavers. He irresistibly strives for freedom. They are guided by a powerful sense of pride, iron endurance, which manifest themselves at a time of severe trials. Watching the
Tamango – a famous warrior and seller of people, he is not always shown in a favorable light. It is he who brings a group of slaves to the ship Leda and sells them at the lowest price. Moreover, he, without hesitation, deprives the lives of those who refused to buy. In the end, he is captured by force and becomes a slave himself. Tamango is forced to share the fate of the others: he is held prisoner, his wife is taken away by Leda, he is beaten.
Tamango begins to drive the other Negroes to rebellion. His wife sends him a file. The slaves manage to free themselves and kill the whole team, but the former slaves could not control the ship. Negroes rained their anger at Tamango, accusing him of treason, in that he promised to take them home and deceived.
Unable to cope with the ship, the slaves tried to escape from the ship on the boats, but almost all were lost. A few days later only Tamango and his wife were left on board, but she too soon died.
When, some time later, the English frigate picked up and brought Tamango to death, he was wanted to be judged and hanged as a Negro rebel. But then they decided to act “humanely” with him – forced to work for the government. He was fed and paid six sous a day. The fate of Tamango in captivity was pitiful: he was saved by life and made him a regimental kettlebell. However, a black-skinned giant, accustomed to freedom, withered from these blessings, drank and soon died in the hospital.
In the novel “Tamango” shows the tragic fate of the natives in a bourgeois civilization. It is directed against the inhumanity of the slave trade, which cripples souls and bodies and those who are slaves, and those who consider themselves their masters and free people.