The Rover


The Rover or The Banish'd Cavaliers is a play in two parts written by the English author Aphra Behn.

Having famously worked as a spy for Charles II against the Dutch, Behn lost her meager income when the king refused to pay her expenses. She turned to writing for an income.

The Rover premiered 1677 to such great success that Behn wrote a sequel that was produced in 1681. An extraordinarily popular example of Restoration comedy, the play earned an extended run, enabling Behn to make a fair income from it, receiving the proceeds from the box office every third night.

Willmore (who may have been a parallel to Charles II or John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester) proved to be an extremely popular character, and four years later Behn wrote a sequel to the play. King Charles II was himself a fan of The Rover, and received a private showing of the play.

Behn's work should always be read with an eye toward her contemporary political world. She was a Royalist, and her works frequently treat Puritans roughly. The subtitle "Banish'd Cavaliers" is a reference to the exile that the Cavalier forces experienced during the English Interregnum.

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