The Rover Essay

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When Behn produced The Rover the monarchy had been reestablished for seventeen years. Mikhail Bakhtin has observed that 'Moments of death and revival, of change and renewal always led to a festive perception of the world'—but neither renewal nor change could be said to be being celebrated in 1677. If it was not pure nostalgia, on what was Aphra Behn's use of carnival based?

The play's period setting in the 1650s is very significant. Cromwell's Protectorate had suppressed pastimes and sports and, to Royalists, the period must have seemed like an indefinite extension of Lent. Joining in the festivities of carnival which were denied them at home, exiled cavaliers whiled away the time until the new order of the once-revolutionary Parliamentarians could be overthrown. Instead of being a wealthy, extravagant elite, the exiles had lost lands and money: they were now displaced and marginalised in foreign parts...

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This section contains 3,979 words
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The Rover from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.