The Rover

The Rover Summary and Analysis of Act IV, Scene v


Florinda has entered unbeknownst into Blunt’s chamber, where she discovers him sitting on a couch in his shirt and drawers, reading. Blunt speaks aloud of his plans to take revenge on the female sex for what Lucetta has done to him. Florinda tells Blunt that she is seeking shelter and safety, and will be ruined if he does not grant it to her. Blunt pulls her in rudely, determined to take his revenge on her; he tells her that he plans to beat her and kiss her all over. Fredrick enters, and Blunt invites him to join him as he beats and rapes Florinda. Both men are set to attack her, when Florinda pleads with them not to hurt her for Belvile’s sake. She recognizes Frederick as a friend of Belvile’s, and tells him that she is very dear to the English colonel. She presents the men with a diamond ring and Frederick, worried that she might actually be a woman of value, suggests that they hold of raping her until they know for sure, after speaking with Belvile. A servant enters to announce the arrival of Belvile and a Spaniard of quality (i.e., Don Pedro); Frederick leaves with Florinda, and Blunt locks his door to prevent the entrance of Belvile and company.


In the opening lines of this scene, Blunt declares that Lucetta “has made [him] as faithless as a physician, as uncharitable as a churchman, and as ill-natured as a poet” (98, l. 11-13). He has been duped, and he will ”never be reconciled to the sex more,” he laments. Blunt reveals with these lines an unexpected capacity to perceive and process hypocrisy and deceit, while at once demonstrating an ability to abandon rationality in the face of hardship. As he refers in turn to a physician, churchman, and poet, he employs somewhat disorienting similes; he claims to resemble said characters in their capacity to exhibit the opposite characteristics with which one might typically associate them. A physician is often imagined to exhibit faith; a churchman should be charitable; a poet should be good-natured and levelheaded (or at least grounded in their life perspective). But Blunt claims that he relates to these characters in their lack of such expected characteristics, and one may either interpret such a statement as a means of expressing how unlike these characters he feels, or else how being duped by Lucetta has reinforced his notion that such characters are in reality duplicitous, and in reality not at all like the stereotypes that inaccurately assign them positive attributes. Being duped by Lucetta has made Blunt more sensitive to the ubiquity of deception and disingenuousness. Lucetta presents a false front to cheat Blunt, and thus the duped Englishman extends such behavior to other seemingly genuine professions; if a woman lies about loving him, then who’s to say that a physician is not lying about faith, a churchman his commitment to charity, and a poet his or her apparent good-nature? All are deceptive liars in Blunt’s mind. But to be aware of the potential for human dishonesty and deception and to generalize that all humans are deceptive and dishonest are two very different things. Blunt initially appears to have a handle on the former, but he quickly reveals his tendency for the latter. When he notes that he can never again be reconciled to the female sex after being deceived and mistreated by Lucetta, he develops into an extreme and irrational character. When he proceeds to make clear his intentions to seek revenge on an arbitrary woman for the transgressions of Lucetta, his irrational become a cruel and dangerous mindset. As Florinda becomes the object of his misdirected wrath, Blunt loses any and all hope for redemption as a respectable or even likeable character.

As Frederick, and eventually Pedro, join Blunt in his plan to rape Florinda, each character becomes implicated in the premeditation of a cruel and barbaric act that greatly diminishes any degree of admiration or respect that the audience or reader might have had for them. Although Florinda is not ultimately raped, the fact that the men each suggest in turn that they want to participate in raping her if and when the opportunity presents reveals their barbaric and careless cruelty. Like in previous scenes, when Willmore and Blunt are referred to as beasts and accordingly evoke associated imagery, in this scene we are prompted to imagine the interaction as a sort of wild attack’ Florinda may be understood as the helpless prey, caged into Blunt’s room, and the surrounding men a pack of wolves ready to devour her.

If we turn to the character of Florinda for further analysis, we again see a female character that is repressed and threatened by the men with whom she crosses paths. The space in which Florinda operates is also once again indicative of an overarching theme of female restriction and danger. Once inside an enclosed space (i.e., Blunt’s chamber), she is unable to exit at will, and must rely on Belvile to save her. The men in the scene, on the other hand, have no issue bouldering their way into the chamber, and leave without any difficulty.