The Rover or The Banish'd Cavaliers: A Play by Aphra Behn
, in full , comedy 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)
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'
- Carnival Politics, Generous Satire, and Nationalist Spectacle in Behn's The Rover. Adam R Beach. Duke University Press. 2004.
- Aphra Behn's The Rover engages with the social, political and sexual conditions of the 17th century, as well as with theatrical traditions of carnival and misrule. Elaine Hobby introduces Behn's play and explores how it was first performed and received
- Aphra Behn's The Rover: Evaluating Women's Social and Sexual Options