The Rover

The Rover Summary and Analysis of Act III, Scene iv


Blunt has been duped by Lucetta, and is now emerging from a “common shore,” dirty and in disbelief at having been cheated. He laments his poor fortune, and chastises himself for being so naïve and imperceptive. His plan is to get back home to England, if at all possible.


This scene would have been quite powerful when staged. Blunt emerges from an unspecified area—a “common shore”—crawling and filthy. He refers to himself as an “Essex calf,” which further encourages the imagery of a wild and dirty beast. No longer the civilly dressed wealthy Englishman, Blunt has been stripped of not only his clothes, but also his pride. As he wanders about naked, we are presented not only with a character in utter disbelief of the betrayal and mistreatment to which he has been subjected, but also a character that has grown dangerously enraged. His first reaction to being duped is disbelief, but this sentiment quickly transforms into rage and, as we see in later scenes, irrational, cruel, misdirected violence.

What is important to recognize here is the abruptness of the transition that Blunt makes from trusting, civil human being, to raging animal. In a matter of moments, Blunt is transformed, and this transformation can speak to the capability of all humans to abandon the rules of society and revert to animal instincts when they feel violated. We might consider the background against which this play was written; Aphra was heavily influenced by the time period, which featured violent Civil War in England and the surrounding area. If Blunt can be understood as in some sense representative of the English countrymen who fought with the Parliamentarians against the Loyalists during these skirmishes, then perhaps Behn is commenting on the frightening capacity of such men to take on the characteristics of a beast when angered. But if we consider this sketch of Blunt as evidence that Behn attributes such repulsive animal behavior with parliamentarians, we must also consider the way that Willmore is presented throughout the play; he is also a wild, beast-like character at times.