Saturday, 16 January 2021

The Rover - Aphra Behn

 The Rover or The Banish'd Cavaliers: A Play by Aphra Behn



Introduction

The Rover, in full The Rover; or, The Banish’t Cavalierscomedy by Aphra Behn, produced and published in two parts in 1677 and 1681. Set in Madrid and Naples during the exile of England’s King Charles II, the play depicts the adventures of a small group of English Cavaliers. The protagonist, the charming but irresponsible Willmore, may have been modeled on John Wilmot Rochester, a poet in the inner circle of Charles II. The hero’s real-life counterpart may also have been John Hoyle, who was a lover of the playwright. (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Aphra Behn's "The Rover" was published in 1677 and first performed in March of that year at Duke's Theatre in Dorset Garden. The play is based upon Thomas Killigrew's drama "Thomas, or, The Wanderer," which was published in 1664. Some dialogue in Behn's "The Rover" closely resembles that found in Thomaso's script; however, the majority of the text was re-written completely, or else is entirely original. As a result of such similarities between texts, Behn was accused of plagiarism on more than one occasion.

Behn's "The Rover" was very well received in the theatre, particularly by Charles II, and also by his successors. Seventy performances of the play are recorded between 1700 and 1725, and another eighty-eight over the course of the following thirty-five years. (Sally Butler)


Download Original Play - The Rover

Characters

Plot Summary

Act wise Analysis

Thematic Study

Online Test: Check your understanding

Inscription on Aphra Behn's Tombstone:

"Here lies a Proof that Wit can never be Defence enough against Mortality."
Aphra Behn's writings (poems and plays) revealed the immoral behaviour of the men of her time. The men of the day, with witty language, used to cover-up their debauched and lascivious (immoral) behaviour. To counter such culture of the civilized nobility of the time, she might have drawn equally immoral women characters. Not only the female characters, even her own life was an example, which scandalously, made a brave statement against the free space given only to the men during her time. Thus, in this context, we can read the inscription as - 'the witty men tried to defend their lascivious behaviour by their wit, however, Behn revealed their true nature and proved that immoral behaviour cannot be veiled or hidden under the garb of witty language. She, herself and her writings, ironically enough, lies to prove that wit can never be defence enough against morality. (Westminister-Abbey's Website)



Video Resources on 'The Rover'


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