A Patriarchic Society In Aphra Behn's The Rover

1166 words - 5 pages

A Patriarchic Society in Aphra Behn's The Rover

In her play The Rover, Aphra Behn uses the treatment of women to suggest the presence of a strong patriarchic society and what harm can become of it. The main female character Florinda is manipulated, used, and treated horribly by men in instances of near-rape, battering and beating, and foul language among other things. Behn also uses Willmore, one of the main male characters, and his attitude towards women to prove her point. By doing this, Behn is suggesting patriarchy is dangerous for women, and their lack of fighting against it presupposes what can happen to women over time if this strong patriarchic society is allowed to flourish.

In act three, Florinda is almost raped by a drunken Willmore. He doesn’t know who she is, he thinks she’s just, “A female! By this light, a woman! I’m a dog if it be not a very wench” (III.v.16 –17). This shows that he only sees her as a sex object. He then tries to take advantage of her. As she puts up a struggle, he says, “Come, come, take it or I’ll put it up again…Why, how now, mistress, are you so high i’th’ mouth a pistole won’t down with you? ...Come, no struggling to be gone…I’m for ye” (III.v.67 – 72), trying to force her into submission. In another instance in act four, the same thing nearly happens again to Florinda when she ventures into Blunt’s house. Blunt has been tricked by another woman and decides to take his revenge out on that woman by sleeping with Florinda. He gets very physical with her and Florinda protests with, “Dare you be so cruel?” (IV.v.51). Blunt replies with this heartless speech: “Cruel? ...as a galley slave, or a Spanish whore…I will kiss and beat thee all over, kiss and see thee all over; thou shalt lie with me too, not that I care for the enjoyment, but to let thee see I have ta’en deliberated malice to thee, and will be revenged on one whore for the sins of another” (IV.v.53 – 57), indicating that he only sees her as a thing, rather than a person. These instances of how horribly Florinda is treated show how Behn thinks women are seen and even treated in the patriarchic society. Florinda, and all women, appear as just playthings to be used as one wishes.
Willmore is the prime example of how horribly women are treated in this play. He nearly rapes Florinda, he attempts to seduce Hellena upon first meeting, he sleeps with Angellica after he’s made a vow of love to Hellena, and he makes sexual comments to just about every woman he encounters. Behn also uses him to show how easily women are manipulated by men. Women are only sex objects to Willmore. When he and Hellena meet again at the end of the play, Willmore convinces her that he is trustworthy. Then he launches off into trying to persuade her to sleep with him again, just as he did when he first met her: “Therefore, dear creature, since we are so well agreed, let’s retire to my chamber; and if ever thou wert treated with such savory love! ...

Find Another Essay On A Patriarchic Society in Aphra Behn's The Rover

Subtle Criticism in Aphra Behn's Oroonoko

1424 words - 6 pages ethnocentric and seems to have no problem with the slave trade, only with the treatment of one specific individual (namely, Oroonoko). Occasionally, however, there will be a slip, a slight inconsistency in the narrators character, which offers a glimpse of Behn's true sentiments. For example, throughout the novel, the narrator is a strong believer in religion. She tells Imoinda ". . . Stories of Nuns and endeavour[s] to bring her to the knowledge

Aphra Behn's Oroonoko as the First Modern Novel

1313 words - 5 pages horror and distinction to the completion of the plot.   Aphra Behn's Oroonoko deals with consequential topics such as racism, gender issues, and slaves. The story is unlike any of the seventeenth century, yet it proves to be one of the first novels. It succeeds in following the guidelines for a novel - distinctiveness, unity of design, and rejection of traditional plots. Behn's accomplishment in writing Oroonoko both paved the way for

Aphra Behn's "The Widow Ranter", similarities and parallels between the events and characters of the play and those of the English Civil War

1959 words - 8 pages Upon reading Aphra Behn's, "The Widow Ranter", it is impossible not to notice the similarities and parallels between the events and characters of the play and those of the English Civil War. These similarities may at first appear to be mere coincidences, it is true that may civil wars are innately comparable to each other; however it is not the case of The Widow Ranter. In The Widow Ranter, Behn artfully constructs and construes a story which

Defining identity in Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave: A True History

1840 words - 7 pages Throughout Oronooko, particularly in this passage, Aphra Behn focuses on identity in both specific characters, such as Oroonoko and Imoinda, and collective terms, such as “Whites” and “Negroes.” In this way, she examines the various aspects of identity, particularly the personal and cultural. Additionally, she underscores the distinctions between man and beast in relation to human identity by exploring their respective definitions. Finally

Sexual Empowerment of Women in Behn's The Willing Mistress and The Disappointment

1996 words - 8 pages Sexual Empowerment of Women in Behn's The Willing Mistress and The Disappointment     "All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn, . . . for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds." (Woolf 91) Born in 1640, Aphra Behn broke gender stereotypes when she undertook a thrilling (if unrewarded) life as a spy for the Crown, but it was her scandalous career as an author which truly achieved many

The Representation of Masculinity and Violence in Henry V and The Rover

2070 words - 8 pages privilege of his position as male monarch, to gain her hand in marriage. The male characters dominate the stage with the ultimate masculinity being that of the King’s. The Rover on the other hand is very much a female dominated play, even though the number of male characters outnumbers that of female characters. The opening scene sets the theme, with the conversation between Florinda and her sister Hellena

The teacher in a developing democratic society

2482 words - 10 pages The teacher in a developing democratic societySouth Africa has not yet reached the level of democracy that should have reached after the 1994 elections. There are still major challenges experienced by the 21st Century society which some of them the country tried to overcome. These include inequality, globalization, unemployment, defence of freedom and knowledge society. These challenges have a major impact on the provision of education as well

The teacher in a developing democratic society

2482 words - 10 pages The teacher in a developing democratic societySouth Africa has not yet reached the level of democracy that should have reached after the 1994 elections. There are still major challenges experienced by the 21st Century society which some of them the country tried to overcome. These include inequality, globalization, unemployment, defence of freedom and knowledge society. These challenges have a major impact on the provision of education as well

Role of the Majority in a Society

1142 words - 5 pages One of the defining principles of democratic society is the idea that “majority rules.” Despite the fundamental nature of this principle, it has been challenged by some of the greatest thinkers in history. Henry David Thoreau, Emmeline Pankhurst and Karl Marx are among these great thinkers who have commented on the role of the majority in different political and social situations. In works such as, “Civil Disobedience,” “Why We Are Militant

A Society in Danger

1262 words - 5 pages In the book The Stranger, Camus characterizes Meursault as an atheist, an unemotional robot, and an outcast to demonstrate how he threatens society. The way Camus characterizes Meursault impacts the book in views to which he threatens society, like when he seems useless, has no compassion or feelings, and when he does nothing to help society, making him seem like society’s worst enemy. How he characterizes Meursault proves how he becomes a

Groups in a Society

1193 words - 5 pages Groups in a Society Groups are the essence of life in a society for the reason that everyone is born into one, such as to a mother and father. Your family, church congregation, faculty at a university, and sports teams whether professional or not are all examples of groups. In a general sense, " Groups are people who have something in common and who believe that what they have in common is significant." Societies are the largest and

Similar Essays

Importance Of Carnival In Aphra Behn's The Rover

996 words - 4 pages without the carnival as a backdrop, Behn could not have as effectively pulled off the character's relationships and the myriad encounters nearly as well. The characters actions speak as much if not more than their words do and the speed of the play is determined by these actions. This could only have been achieved by the confusion and spontaneity inherent in the nature of carnivals. Thus, the importance of Carnival in Aphra Behn's The Rover was paramount to the success of the play.(1)As noted by Prof. Champ during a conference(2)http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~paradiso/vencarn.htm

Courtship Of Marriage Depicted In Aphra Behn's "The Rover" And "Oroonoko"

901 words - 4 pages Courtship and marriage has been one of the themes used in Aphra Behn's "The Rover" and "Oroonoko". Not only is it emphasized in the plots, but also in the written characters as well. In "The Rover", Aphra Behn criticizes the idea of arranged marriages which is not stereotypical of women, who were supposed to be longing for marriage proposals from any man of high status. She also depicts romance through prostitution, virginity while giving her

Politics In Aphra Behn's Oroonoko Essay

2466 words - 10 pages Oroonoko, the explicit political ideology of the narrator is that of a Royalist and a Tory, as well. Aphra Behn includes characters she most likely had personally met during her stay in Surinam, adding real-life colour to her story. However, I do not think she identifies herself with the narrator at all times. Decisions on the political meaning of the book and Behn's intentions will in fact depend on how many politically charged allusions we want to

The Rover By Aphra Behn Essay

1516 words - 6 pages In The Rover by Aphra Behn the reader is shown how all a woman could do during the 1600’s in Europe was sell herself through marriage or prostitution through the characters Hellena and Angellica. Both women have different views on love, sex, and marriage. Hellena is a woman who does not want to be controlled by men. It has been determined by her father and brother that she will join a nunnery, which she rejects. Hellena doesn’t want her desires
Elementary – HD – DUB/LEG Online | La Querida del Centauro | Mal Menor (Less than E...