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A prostitute as the unsung heroine in Aphra Behn’s The Rover

A prostitute as the unsung heroine in Aphra Behn’s The Rover AbstractAphra Behn, a Restoration playwright of unprecedented success, lived by her pen and therefore was obliged to conform to the other literary production of that time (written mostly by men): comedies featuring libertines, coarse morals, debauchery and fortune-hunting protagonists. Behn wrote in this manner, yet adding a satirical spin to her work, by presenting the character of Angellica Bianca, a prostitute (actually a very ladylike companion to older wealthy men). Paradoxically, Angellica is presented as the most upright and generous person among the cast; lamentably, she believes in oaths, of which Wilmore, the double-dealing eponymous rover of the play, cures her mercilessly and swiftly, as soon as he meets a virgin, who comes with a large fortune attached. By this, Behn introduces a dark undercurrent to an ostensibly comic play. This paper pays homage to the elaborate ways Aphra Behn employed to present a prostitute as the most intriguing character of the play. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ars Aeterna de Gruyter

A prostitute as the unsung heroine in Aphra Behn’s The Rover

Ars Aeterna , Volume 14 (2): 10 – Dec 1, 2022

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2022 Ema Jelínková, published by Sciendo
eISSN
2450-8497
DOI
10.2478/aa-2022-0008
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractAphra Behn, a Restoration playwright of unprecedented success, lived by her pen and therefore was obliged to conform to the other literary production of that time (written mostly by men): comedies featuring libertines, coarse morals, debauchery and fortune-hunting protagonists. Behn wrote in this manner, yet adding a satirical spin to her work, by presenting the character of Angellica Bianca, a prostitute (actually a very ladylike companion to older wealthy men). Paradoxically, Angellica is presented as the most upright and generous person among the cast; lamentably, she believes in oaths, of which Wilmore, the double-dealing eponymous rover of the play, cures her mercilessly and swiftly, as soon as he meets a virgin, who comes with a large fortune attached. By this, Behn introduces a dark undercurrent to an ostensibly comic play. This paper pays homage to the elaborate ways Aphra Behn employed to present a prostitute as the most intriguing character of the play.

Journal

Ars Aeternade Gruyter

Published: Dec 1, 2022

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