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Lecture 2

Week 2: The Rover (Behn)

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Terry Robinson

ENG307H1 Week 2b: 9/19/12 Aphra Behn – The Rover -Restoration period = very sexually open, even lines uttered on stage -breeches role** -pop quizzes: memorize general plot outlines, characters, settings, author, historical dates+events => all MC + short answer -set in NAPLES, Carnival time -Charles II in exile (p. 11) – during the Early Republican form of government, before Restoration -The Banished Cavaliers = Willmore, Frederick, Belvile = royalists who fought on behalf of Charles I, therefore also in exile -Blunt = NOT a cavalier, country gentleman from Essex – posh -male sphere = public and MARKET --why Carnival? 1) set in carnival, when women merge into male spheres 2) free space for masking = women can adopt a different IDENTITY 3) men and women interact in atypical ways = amorous 4) reversal of hierarchies 5) playfulness, parody 6) performance -temporarily, can abadon hierarchal, gender, and social expectations – then simply do whatever they wished *temporary alleviation from TRUTH of establishethorder -therefore carnivals went out fashion end of 18 c. => pre-Victorian morality, female honour -why Italy? 1) Continental Tour: men, at age of 18-20, were sent to the continent to do tours, learn about art + civilization, and explore/go wild before returning to marry/settle down 2) exotic/ romantic Other setting; mythologized as sensuality+luxuriousness 3) desire + unnatainability 4) possibility – because they were not acceptable in England, but in Italy, these English characters could separate from own cultural + social ties 5) apolitical – talks about problems of the English identity in a less threatening setting – “not so close to home” PLOT/CHARACTERS: -Don Pedro wishes to marry Hellena to Don Antonio, and Florinda to Vicentio 1) we both root for Willmore and his wit, but also detest him. His character undermines our promotion of him: a) near-violence – always out for women b) lies constantly c) v. arrogant d) v. forgetful - sometimes foolish -why do people tolerate him? How does he keep winning them over? a) boyish charm b) unalienating, unthreatening when necessary c) you can empathize with his stupidity -when Willmore + friends say “it’s okay to rape a prostitute”, she’s pointing the disturbing truth of society that women like her friend Nell Gwyn can be mistreated such 2) Frederick = wavering morals -guilty but also ok with idea of raping Florinda 3) Ned Blunt = runs off with a deceiving woman: fabulous staged spectacle, also brutish and violent towards women -opposite of a rake: lacks libertine’s geniality, good-naturedness, generosity 4) Florinda = high quality woman 5) Hellena = sister to Florinda, high-spirited, forward-speaking, destined to be nun -v. witty but also v. graceful -sets sight on Willmore = why? -breeches role/object of desire in masculkine clothing, but also USURPS masculine poer 6) Valeria = kinswoman to F., engaged to Frederick 7) Angelica Bianca = “white angel” also falls in
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