It her works without recognising the ideological

It
was only after Virginia Woolf’s statement that all women writers should place a
flower on the grave of Aphra Behn that, Aphra Behn as a woman writer started
gaining any attention. Aphra Behn is considered to be the first English woman
to have earned her living by writing. Born in the 17th century
England, Behn wrote in various genres like novel, poetry, essays, drama, and translation.
One of the most prolific writers of her age, Behn was often criticised as a
morally deprived minor writer by the male critics till the 20th
century. Behn’s personal life was also one filled with political intrigue, opinionated
discourse and a very publicised affair with John Hoyle, a bisexual. Her Oroonoko was the only work which was
given any serious consideration by literary scholars from the 18th
century till date, and is considered one of the first humanitarian and
abolisionist novel by some. Today Behn is considered by many critics to be a
feminist and new historicist. A royalist, a proponent of women’s freedom and an
early abolitionist, one can not completely understand her works without
recognising the ideological complexities and ambiguities in her works. Critics
even suggest that only an indepth theoretical, historical, and critical reading
of Aphra Behn’s works would make the reassessment of Restoration drama
complete. One of the most prominent political writers of the 1680s, Aphra Behn
is resurrected by the feminist critics as the foremother of British writing.

The
period from which the restoration of Charles II as a monarch to the end of the
17th century is called the restoration period of English Literature.
In the year 1660, Charles II was restored as the monarch of England. The
outstanding writers of the age were Dryden, John Aubrey, William Congreve, Sir
Van Farquhar, Etheredge, Wycherley, Pepys, George Savile Marquess of Halifax,
Otway, Samuel Butler, the Earl of Rochester, and Sir William Temple. Dryden was
considered the major writere of the period in both verse and prose. The
monarchical restoration was accompanied by the restoration of the English
theatres which were closed during the Cromwell regime and the Restoration of
the Church of England as the national church. Restoration comedy is the kind of
drama that prevailed between the restoration of the English monarchy in 1660
and the advent of sentimental comedy in the early 18th century. It
was also referred to as the artificial comedy or the comedy of manners and was
chiefly concerned with presenting a society of elegance and stylishness. It
depicts and satirizes the manners and affectations of the contemporary society.
A witty and cerebral kind of dramatic comedy, it was mainly concerned with the
question whether or not the characters meet certain social standards. The
characters of these comedies were gallants, ladies, and gentlemen of fashion
and rank, fops, rakes, social climbers and country bumpkins. Witty, urbane and
often licentious, the comedy of manners often dealt with the intricacies of sexual
and marital intrigue and therefore also with adultery and cuckoldry. They gave
a pungent commentary on the human foibles. Written by sophisticated authors for
the members of their own social class, the comedy of manners historically
thrived in societies with material prosperity and moral latitude. The New
Comedy of Menander is considered to be the forerunner of comedy of manners. the
bawdy comedy of manners is said to be heavily influenced by Moliere but chilled
with the dry wit of London aristocracy. The treatment of women in this comedy
of manners was the most unusual characteristic of this dramatic type. With the
first gay reaction iin the past, the independent ladies demanded complete
equality with the men of the age. Intellectually, they also gained that
equality. The Restoration theatre gave women an unprecedented public presence
and identity. Actresses appeared on stage for the first time during the
Restoration period and women also began enjoying other forms of prominence
during this period.

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Aphra
Behn’s The Rover or the Banished
Cavaliers is a revision of Thomas Killigrew’s play Thomaso or The Wanderer written in the year 1664. According to Restoration
poet John Dryden,
it “lacks the manly vitality of Killigrew’s play, but shows greater
refinement of expression.” A Royalist, Behn had worked as a spy for King
Charles II against the Dutch. She lost whatever meagre income she gained after
the king refused to pay her expenses. Behn’s works frequently treat the
Puritans roughly. The subtiltle of the play “Banished Cavaliers” is a reference
to the exile that the Cavalier forces faced during the English Interregnum. The
play The Rover features multiple plot lines and the amorous adventures of a
group of Cavaliers or Englishmen in Naples at the carnival time. The Rover in
the title of the play is Willmore, a rakish naval captain. The character of
Wilmore is said to be modelled on John Wilmot Rochester, a poet in the inner
circle of Charles II. Critics also claim that the character is modelled on John
Hoyle, whom Behn was in a relationship with. The female counterpart of Wilmore
is seen partially in the character if Hellena who desires for the love and
company of men despite the fact that her father and her brother wants her to
join the nunnery and be a nun.

The
three ideologies about the nature of women and women’s appropriate function in
the society clashed with one another during Behn’s lifetime. Out of the
relirious ideology, the economic ideology, amd the libertine ideology, Behn
found none of these entirely satisfactory but found the libertine ideology the
most attractive. Although women in Behn’s society largely belonged to the
labouring Yeomen classes, the women characters in Behn’s works were all from
the higher social classes. The women belonging to the higher strata of the
society was the principal concern of Behn.

The
church during Behn’s time taught that it was the primary duty of the daughters
to obey the instructions of their parents. The chidren had a religious
obligation to honour and obey their parents. The Restoration Church of England
often stressed on the observances of hierarchy in the family. Marriage was
considerd to the spiritual union and the fundamental unit of God’s plan for
social order. Men were entitled to be the heir of the family’s property, and it
was only in the absence of men that daughters became heiresses of familial
property. Susan Staves in her essay ‘Behn, women and society’. supports Todd’s
description of Aphra Behn as a “pseudo-aristocrat”. She points out that Behn
vehemently supports the entitlements of upperclass men to substantial property
by inheritance or marriage.

Behn
in her play The Rover vehemently
attacks the immorality of forced marriages. Hellena, the eldest daughter of the
play is forced by her father and her brother to become a nun inspite of all her
crave for love and pleasure. Florinda, the second daughter is forced to marry
Don Vincentio, a rich old man, by her father. Her brother Don Pedro also finds
her a rich suitor named Don Antonio. Florinda, in the meanwhile is in love with
Belvil, an English colonel. Despite the opposition from her brother and her
father, Helena supports Florinda’s decision to marry Belvil. Hellena and
Florinda along with their cousin Valeria decide to go the carnival disguised as
gypsies. Hellena on reaching the carnival flirts with Willmore, an English man
from the sea, who is there for in search of mere pleasure. Hellena tells Willmore
that she is destines  to be a nun to
which Willmore replies that there is no better sinner than a young saint. In
several instances throughout the play, Florinda calls Hellena mad and not
worthy of any love. Hellena is one of the most rebellious characters in the
play. Destined to be a nun by her parents, in the end of the play Hellena
decides to marry Willmore, the English man.

Angelica
Bianca, is another character who stands out in the play The Rover. Angelica is a famous prostitute who is craved for by
almost all the men of the town. Don Pedro and Don Antonio gets into an argument
on who has the right to claim Angelica. Angelica has kept herself for sale for
a huge amount of money which both of them are ready to pay. Despite their
interests and their consent to pay the money, Angelica decides to sleep with
Wilmore who charms her with his words of love. Angelica takes Willmore’s love
to be true and genuine and decides that no monet is greater than a man who can
give her back true love. Meanwhile Blunt, a friend of Belvil’s tries to rape
Florinda because of his hatred towards all women. Blunt mistook Lucetta, a
common prostitute to be a lady of high class and fell in love with her. Lucetta
takes him with her and then robs him off all his riches with the help of her
assistants. In another instance Don Pedro tries to rape Florinda, who is in
disguise without realising that the girl is Florinda, his sister. Rape is shown
in the play by Aphra Bahn as a way in which men try to assert their power over
women. Angelica who had fallen in love with Willmore threatens to kill him
realising that he is in love with Hellena. Hellena at the sametime tries to
convince Willmore into marrying her. Willmore wants only to sleep with Hellena
but Hellena convinces him into getting married with her. Behn asserts the
importance of marriage at the end of the play by getting Willmore and Hellena
to decide marry eachother. Behn’s characterisation and portrayal of women
characters in the play is noteworthy. All the women characters of Behn display
individuality and the courage to hold up their morals and values in life.
Hellena is one character who breaks all the conventions of the society and
asserts the importance of her desires and passions in life.

The
play The Rover was well received at the time of its staging in1677. Aphra Behn
later wrote a sequel to the play in 1681. An extraordinary but popular example
of the comedy of manners, the play helped Behn earn and thus made her the first
English woman to have made a living by writing plays. Behn is considered a
protofeminist by the recent critics. Her other works include Oronooko, Forc’d
Marriage, The Younger Brother, The City Heiress, and many others.

 

It
was only after Virginia Woolf’s statement that all women writers should place a
flower on the grave of Aphra Behn that, Aphra Behn as a woman writer started
gaining any attention. Aphra Behn is considered to be the first English woman
to have earned her living by writing. Born in the 17th century
England, Behn wrote in various genres like novel, poetry, essays, drama, and translation.
One of the most prolific writers of her age, Behn was often criticised as a
morally deprived minor writer by the male critics till the 20th
century. Behn’s personal life was also one filled with political intrigue, opinionated
discourse and a very publicised affair with John Hoyle, a bisexual. Her Oroonoko was the only work which was
given any serious consideration by literary scholars from the 18th
century till date, and is considered one of the first humanitarian and
abolisionist novel by some. Today Behn is considered by many critics to be a
feminist and new historicist. A royalist, a proponent of women’s freedom and an
early abolitionist, one can not completely understand her works without
recognising the ideological complexities and ambiguities in her works. Critics
even suggest that only an indepth theoretical, historical, and critical reading
of Aphra Behn’s works would make the reassessment of Restoration drama
complete. One of the most prominent political writers of the 1680s, Aphra Behn
is resurrected by the feminist critics as the foremother of British writing.

The
period from which the restoration of Charles II as a monarch to the end of the
17th century is called the restoration period of English Literature.
In the year 1660, Charles II was restored as the monarch of England. The
outstanding writers of the age were Dryden, John Aubrey, William Congreve, Sir
Van Farquhar, Etheredge, Wycherley, Pepys, George Savile Marquess of Halifax,
Otway, Samuel Butler, the Earl of Rochester, and Sir William Temple. Dryden was
considered the major writere of the period in both verse and prose. The
monarchical restoration was accompanied by the restoration of the English
theatres which were closed during the Cromwell regime and the Restoration of
the Church of England as the national church. Restoration comedy is the kind of
drama that prevailed between the restoration of the English monarchy in 1660
and the advent of sentimental comedy in the early 18th century. It
was also referred to as the artificial comedy or the comedy of manners and was
chiefly concerned with presenting a society of elegance and stylishness. It
depicts and satirizes the manners and affectations of the contemporary society.
A witty and cerebral kind of dramatic comedy, it was mainly concerned with the
question whether or not the characters meet certain social standards. The
characters of these comedies were gallants, ladies, and gentlemen of fashion
and rank, fops, rakes, social climbers and country bumpkins. Witty, urbane and
often licentious, the comedy of manners often dealt with the intricacies of sexual
and marital intrigue and therefore also with adultery and cuckoldry. They gave
a pungent commentary on the human foibles. Written by sophisticated authors for
the members of their own social class, the comedy of manners historically
thrived in societies with material prosperity and moral latitude. The New
Comedy of Menander is considered to be the forerunner of comedy of manners. the
bawdy comedy of manners is said to be heavily influenced by Moliere but chilled
with the dry wit of London aristocracy. The treatment of women in this comedy
of manners was the most unusual characteristic of this dramatic type. With the
first gay reaction iin the past, the independent ladies demanded complete
equality with the men of the age. Intellectually, they also gained that
equality. The Restoration theatre gave women an unprecedented public presence
and identity. Actresses appeared on stage for the first time during the
Restoration period and women also began enjoying other forms of prominence
during this period.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

Aphra
Behn’s The Rover or the Banished
Cavaliers is a revision of Thomas Killigrew’s play Thomaso or The Wanderer written in the year 1664. According to Restoration
poet John Dryden,
it “lacks the manly vitality of Killigrew’s play, but shows greater
refinement of expression.” A Royalist, Behn had worked as a spy for King
Charles II against the Dutch. She lost whatever meagre income she gained after
the king refused to pay her expenses. Behn’s works frequently treat the
Puritans roughly. The subtiltle of the play “Banished Cavaliers” is a reference
to the exile that the Cavalier forces faced during the English Interregnum. The
play The Rover features multiple plot lines and the amorous adventures of a
group of Cavaliers or Englishmen in Naples at the carnival time. The Rover in
the title of the play is Willmore, a rakish naval captain. The character of
Wilmore is said to be modelled on John Wilmot Rochester, a poet in the inner
circle of Charles II. Critics also claim that the character is modelled on John
Hoyle, whom Behn was in a relationship with. The female counterpart of Wilmore
is seen partially in the character if Hellena who desires for the love and
company of men despite the fact that her father and her brother wants her to
join the nunnery and be a nun.

The
three ideologies about the nature of women and women’s appropriate function in
the society clashed with one another during Behn’s lifetime. Out of the
relirious ideology, the economic ideology, amd the libertine ideology, Behn
found none of these entirely satisfactory but found the libertine ideology the
most attractive. Although women in Behn’s society largely belonged to the
labouring Yeomen classes, the women characters in Behn’s works were all from
the higher social classes. The women belonging to the higher strata of the
society was the principal concern of Behn.

The
church during Behn’s time taught that it was the primary duty of the daughters
to obey the instructions of their parents. The chidren had a religious
obligation to honour and obey their parents. The Restoration Church of England
often stressed on the observances of hierarchy in the family. Marriage was
considerd to the spiritual union and the fundamental unit of God’s plan for
social order. Men were entitled to be the heir of the family’s property, and it
was only in the absence of men that daughters became heiresses of familial
property. Susan Staves in her essay ‘Behn, women and society’. supports Todd’s
description of Aphra Behn as a “pseudo-aristocrat”. She points out that Behn
vehemently supports the entitlements of upperclass men to substantial property
by inheritance or marriage.

Behn
in her play The Rover vehemently
attacks the immorality of forced marriages. Hellena, the eldest daughter of the
play is forced by her father and her brother to become a nun inspite of all her
crave for love and pleasure. Florinda, the second daughter is forced to marry
Don Vincentio, a rich old man, by her father. Her brother Don Pedro also finds
her a rich suitor named Don Antonio. Florinda, in the meanwhile is in love with
Belvil, an English colonel. Despite the opposition from her brother and her
father, Helena supports Florinda’s decision to marry Belvil. Hellena and
Florinda along with their cousin Valeria decide to go the carnival disguised as
gypsies. Hellena on reaching the carnival flirts with Willmore, an English man
from the sea, who is there for in search of mere pleasure. Hellena tells Willmore
that she is destines  to be a nun to
which Willmore replies that there is no better sinner than a young saint. In
several instances throughout the play, Florinda calls Hellena mad and not
worthy of any love. Hellena is one of the most rebellious characters in the
play. Destined to be a nun by her parents, in the end of the play Hellena
decides to marry Willmore, the English man.

Angelica
Bianca, is another character who stands out in the play The Rover. Angelica is a famous prostitute who is craved for by
almost all the men of the town. Don Pedro and Don Antonio gets into an argument
on who has the right to claim Angelica. Angelica has kept herself for sale for
a huge amount of money which both of them are ready to pay. Despite their
interests and their consent to pay the money, Angelica decides to sleep with
Wilmore who charms her with his words of love. Angelica takes Willmore’s love
to be true and genuine and decides that no monet is greater than a man who can
give her back true love. Meanwhile Blunt, a friend of Belvil’s tries to rape
Florinda because of his hatred towards all women. Blunt mistook Lucetta, a
common prostitute to be a lady of high class and fell in love with her. Lucetta
takes him with her and then robs him off all his riches with the help of her
assistants. In another instance Don Pedro tries to rape Florinda, who is in
disguise without realising that the girl is Florinda, his sister. Rape is shown
in the play by Aphra Bahn as a way in which men try to assert their power over
women. Angelica who had fallen in love with Willmore threatens to kill him
realising that he is in love with Hellena. Hellena at the sametime tries to
convince Willmore into marrying her. Willmore wants only to sleep with Hellena
but Hellena convinces him into getting married with her. Behn asserts the
importance of marriage at the end of the play by getting Willmore and Hellena
to decide marry eachother. Behn’s characterisation and portrayal of women
characters in the play is noteworthy. All the women characters of Behn display
individuality and the courage to hold up their morals and values in life.
Hellena is one character who breaks all the conventions of the society and
asserts the importance of her desires and passions in life.

The
play The Rover was well received at the time of its staging in1677. Aphra Behn
later wrote a sequel to the play in 1681. An extraordinary but popular example
of the comedy of manners, the play helped Behn earn and thus made her the first
English woman to have made a living by writing plays. Behn is considered a
protofeminist by the recent critics. Her other works include Oronooko, Forc’d
Marriage, The Younger Brother, The City Heiress, and many others.

 

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