The Rover

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Essay:Presentation of women in "The Rover"
Aphra Behn's play,"The Rover", set in 17th century is a brave attempt by the playwright who seeks to address the plight of women and their limited freedom in the patriarchal society and brings to fore women's desires,both sexual and emotional. The status of women in that era was indeed deplorable and even the playwright had to overcome a lot of hurdles in order to sustain in the society that was extremely prejudiced against women writers and 'clubbed a woman writer and whore together'. Thus,Behn,in support of liberation of women,presents a play where women dare to break the stereotypes,risk loss of reputation and scathing contempt.Behn's female characters are feisty and strive for freedom within the mould of social norms regarding matrimony.

In "The Rover", the three leading ladies are proactive and daring and have no qualms in taking up the 'the initiative' that is conventionally reserved for 'the cavaliers'.The outspoken and rebellious Hellena blatantly resolves to defy 'what her wise brother imagines',that is,sending her to a convent.Her docile sister,Florinda and the prostitute,Angellica Bianca have similar aims.All these women show sexual desires as well as the capability to expressing them frankly.Hence,there is a lucid subversion of roles here. The opening scene of the play is highly symbolic and important.The title 'The Rover' ostensibly focusses on a male character,however,the play begins with women in the centre stage,venting their concerns and glimpsing about their future actions.Hence,through these women,with impressively strong personalities,Behn 'brings out the conflict between the young women with independent minds against their patriarchal guardians'. Both Florinda and Hellena are dissatisfied with their prospective future and decide to have their own way:''With indignation;and how near so far my father thinks I am to marrying that hated object' and "And dost thou think that ever I'll be a nun?Or at...
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