Saturday, 21 March 2015

Review of 'The Rover'

This is probably the oldest text I've ever read by a woman. I'm not going to lie, before coming across 17th Century English literature I didn't even know women were able to write published work at this kind of time (kind of shows how repressive some eras were - I'm looking at you, almighty damaging Victorian period). Anyway, The Rover, a play by Aphra Behn, is incredibly expressive regarding the wit and status of women in society during this period. However, this quotation, despite appearing a bit fluffy and cute is actually one of the most troubling I came across in the text. It's spoken by one of the boldest women in the play, Angellica, but suggests that there is an inherent weakness in women that emerges when they fall in love. 

Willmore, or the rover whom the name is titled after is looking for love (or sex, they're effectively the same thing in 17th C fiction). Hellena, whose brother simply wants to send her to a convent and preserve her feminine purity, seeks to get a glimpse into the real world and fall in love. Her and Willmore's paths and hearts meet, however, another figure comes into play: Angellica. Despite being a courtesan, albeit one who insists on a high payment, Angellica is actually not a 'simple' woman as one might expect her to be stereotyped. Amongst a number of other plot lines, you get to see whether Willmore will choose the simple, but alluring Hellena, or the stunning Angellica.

Have you read it? What did you think?

Steph x

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