Essay on Women and Men in Aphra Behn's "The Rover"

Essay on Women and Men in Aphra Behn's "The Rover"

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Women and Men in Aphra Behn's "The Rover"

Act one of the rover opens with two scenes which indicate that men and
women occupy very different spheres. Compare and contrast the men and
women in Act 1 scene1 and Act 1 scene 2.

Aphra Behn sets the first scene of her play within a chamber in order
to introduce a domestic sphere, allowing the audience to gain direct
information about the characters and their inner views and ideas as
they are hidden from the outside world. Consequently Behn is able to
communicate to the audience the difficulties of a patriarchal society,
this is portrayed by Helena and Florinda’s behaviour towards their
brother, Pedro, who although maintains status due to his gender and
possesses power over his sisters, he is challenged and opposed by
Helena, which becomes clear through her use of language in addition to
her actions and behaviour in scene 2.

We are instantly provided with the differences between men and women
within society; where Pedro views the purpose of marriage to gain
status and the importance of marrying a well known man, Florinda
challenges his opinion as she is in love with Belvile and therefore
desires to follow her heart and remain faithful to him, regardless of
his background and place in society. Nevertheless, society empowers
Pedro due to his gender therefore allowing him to maintain authority
over his sisters, which is explicit by the force Florinda is exposed
to, ensuring she is to marry Don Antonio, in which Pedro declares she
‘must do tomorrow’, evidently we recognise the control and authority a
man embodies due to his place in society.

The women in the play as demonstrated by Helena and Florinda are not
only discontented with the decisions made for the...


... middle of paper ...


...idently she has trapped him as
she states ‘if I understand my trade he’s mine’, thus although she is
a prostitute she has power over him as he thirsts to make love to her.
Similarly Angelica Bianca is said to be in town, she possesses a lot
of power over all men due to her beauty, Frederick states ‘’tis pretty
to see how much love men regard her’, however, whether or not this is
to be referred to as power can be argued, as men exploit her to
receive sexual satisfaction, nevertheless the fact that they pay for
her can be interpreted that she does have power over them due to the
idea that she is gaining money from them. Furthermore, throughout this
scene we are enlightened that Helena has conducted a sexual act with
Willmore, thereby emphasising that she possesses power as she has gone
against her family and her society as she is to be transformed to a
nun.

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