The Rover

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Willmore Character Analysis

An upper-class soldier called a cavalier, Willmore is loyal to the English monarchy, and has therefore been exiled from his homeland (the story takes place during Oliver Cromwell’s reign in England after the execution of Charles 1). He comes to Naples excited about the free-for-all atmosphere of Carnival. A classic rake, and the Rover of the play’s title, he is called so not just because of his travelling, but also because of his roving eye. He constantly lusts for women, and seeks out different ways to seduce them, leaving a trail of broken hearts wherever he goes. Reckless and rash, Willmore often quarrels with other men, and is quick to draw his sword. During the play, he wins the love of both the noble, unladylike, intelligent Hellena and the high-priced courtesan Angelica. Witty and charming, Willmore also has a dark side, which becomes obvious when he almost rapes Florinda, the beloved of his friend Belvile. Although he eventually vows to marry Hellena, his intellectual equal, it is difficult to believe that wedding vows will end Willmore’s promiscuous behavior.

Willmore Quotes in The Rover

The The Rover quotes below are all either spoken by Willmore or refer to Willmore. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Gender Roles Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of The Rover published in 1993.
Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

Love and Mirth are my Business in Naples; and if I mistake not the Place, here’s an excellent Market for Chapmen of my Humour.

Related Characters: Willmore (speaker), Belvile, Frederick, Ned Blunt
Related Symbols: Carnival
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:

This passage introduces Willmore, the dashing but promiscuous "Rover" of the title. Unlike the proper Belvile or the contemptible Ned and Blunt, Willmore is both attractive and immoral. He is witty and daring, but also views women as objects to be used for pleasure and then thrown away. 

It is important to note, in this passage, that Willmore uses the word "love" to actually mean "lust." He means to physically pursue women, but certainly does not intend to lose his heart to any one of them. He has confused physical desire with emotional feeling, and will continue to do so over the course of the play.

Willmore also introduces a second vital idea: the link between love and money. Throughout the play, we will witness how characters think of love as something that can be bought and sold. By referring to Naples as a "Market" in which he will be able to take part in the "Business" of "Love and Mirth," Willmore reveals that he fully buys into this mindset. 

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Hellena: If you should prevail with my tender Heart (as I begin to fear you will, for you have horrible loving Eyes) there will be difficulty in’t that you’ll hardly undergo for my sake.
Willmore: Faith, Child, I have been bred in Dangers, and wear a Sword that has been employ’d in a worse Cause, than for a handsom kind Woman—Name the Danger—let it be any thing but a long Siege, and I’ll undertake it.

Related Characters: Willmore (speaker), Hellena (speaker)
Related Symbols: Swords
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

Soon after Willmore is introduced, he meets his match in the disguised Hellena, who has escaped her chambers dressed as a "gypsy." It is immediately obvious to the audience that Hellena and Willmore are meant for each other. The two wittiest characters in the play, as they banter they fill their conversation with puns and double entendres. Thus their immediate physical attraction to each other is made clear through language. 

It is also vital to note that both Willmore and Hellena participate in a sexually charged way of speaking. While this would be expected of the rakish Willmore, it is surprising in the well-bred Hellena. Yet again we see this character's non-traditional nature, as she tempts Willmore with her "tender Heart" and notes his "loving Eyes." 

Wilmore, for his part, rises to the occasion as he sees that Hellena can match his wit. Chivalrously--so it seems--he swears to wield his sword for her, but then adds that he will not undergo "a long Siege." What he means, of course, is that he hopes Hellena will quickly give up his virtue to him and let him sleep with her.

Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

Willmore: But why thus disguis’d and muzzl’d?
Belvile: Because whatever Extravagances we commit in these Faces, our own may not be oblig’d to answer ‘em.
Willmore: I should have changed my Eternal Buff too: but no matter, my little Gypsy wou’d not have found me out then: for if she should change hers, it is impossible I should know her, unless I should hear her prattle—A Pox on’t, I cannot get her out of my Head: Pray Heaven, if ever I do see her again, she prove damnably ugly, that I may fortify my self against her Tongue.

Related Characters: Willmore (speaker), Belvile (speaker), Hellena
Related Symbols: Carnival, Masks
Page Number: 174
Explanation and Analysis:

The cavaliers here discuss the subject of masks, as Belvile explains how a mask can allow for bad behavior, since they keep one's true face hidden. The concept of mistaken identity and deception is a common one in The Rover. The characters constantly lie to and manipulate each other, as they fight for dominance while also trying to keep their reputations (outside of the Carnival atmosphere) intact.

Willmore, meanwhile, is baffled by his sudden strong feelings towards the disguised Hellena. He feels that he is at a disadvantage, since she has seen his true face and he has not seen hers. In fact, he even hopes that she might be ugly, because he is so entranced by her wit. Willmore's emotion towards Hellena underscores the importance of banter and language within the play. Although he is extremely superficial in terms of appearance and lust, Willmore here finds himself falling in love with a woman whose face he has never actually seen, merely because of her intelligence and wit. 

How wondrous fair she is—a Thousand Crowns a Month—by Heaven as many Kingdoms were too little. A plague of this Poverty—of which I ne’er complain, but when it hinders my Approach to Beauty, which Virtue ne’er could purchase.

Related Characters: Willmore (speaker), Angelica
Related Symbols: Angelica’s Picture
Page Number: 177
Explanation and Analysis:

Willmore now becomes entranced by a picture of the courtesan Angelica--a highly expensive prostitute who costs "a Thousand Crowns a Month" to employ. Once again, we witness how closely Willmore associates love and money. By saying that Angelica is worth even more than a thousand crowns, Willmore is paying her the highest compliment he can imagine. 

It is important to note the difference between Willmore's emotions towards Hellena, and his attraction to Angelica. He feels strongly about Hellena without ever having seen her face; meanwhile, he desires Angelica without ever actually having met her. Yet in both cases, he still views the women as objects to be won or "purchase[d]" rather than as actual people. 

Oh! Fear me not, shall I not venture where a Beauty calls? A lovely charming Beauty? For fear of danger! When by Heaven there’s none so great as to long for her, whilst I want Money to purchase her.

Related Characters: Willmore (speaker), Angelica
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:

As he incites a fight outside of Angelica's home, Willmore here articulates what is essentially his life's philosophy: that he will do anything for "Beauty," and that if he cannot "purchase" Angelica's attentions, there is nothing "so great as to long for her." This obsession with female beauty in fact governs most of his actions in the play.

By now, the fickle Willmore seems to have utterly forgotten Hellena. He is entranced by Angelica's beauty and her price, and enjoys the idea of fighting other men for her. All of his worst impulses have come together in his quest to win Angelica at any cost, and he returns to his stereotypical role as the charming but immoral libertine.

Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

Yes, I am poor—but I’m a Gentleman,
And one that scorns this Baseness which you practise.
Poor as I am, I would not sell my self,
No, not to gain your charming high-priz’d Person.
Tho I admire you strangely for your Beauty,
Yet I contemn your Mind.
—And yet I wou’d at any rate enjoy you;
At your own rate—but cannot—See here
The only Sum I can command on Earth;
I know not where to eat when this is gone:
Yet such a Slave I am to Love and Beauty,
This last reserve I’ll sacrifice to enjoy you.
—Nay, do not frown, I know you are to be bought,
And wou’d be bought by me, by me,
For a mean trifling Sum, if I could pay it down.
Which happy knowledge I will still repeat,
And lay it to my Heart, it has a Virtue in’t,
And soon will cure those Wounds your Eyes have made.
—And yet—there’s something so divinely powerful there—
Nay, I will gaze—to let you see my Strength.

Related Characters: Willmore (speaker), Angelica
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:

In this long speech, Willmore gathers all of his rhetorical powers of persuasion in order to convince Angelica of his sudden love for her. This passage exemplifies both the good and the bad of Willmore. On one hand, he is obsessed with money and with the idea of "conquering" women. Superficially, he thinks that lust and love (and, in a way, business) are one and the same, and he prizes beauty above all else. 

On the other hand, Willmore is not simply a passionate man, but a deeply eloquent one. He explains to Angelica that he would "sacrifice" everything for her, chiding her for wounding him with her eyes, even as he praises her "divinely powerful" gaze.

Given Willmore's skillful command over language, combined with his physical bravery and his sincere passion for living, it makes sense that both Hellena and Angelica would fall in love with him. While he may be an immoral rake, he does not pretend to be anything but what he is: a poor yet dashing man who lives by his wits, and who will stop at nothing to possess the various objects of his affections. 

But Madam, I have been so often cheated
By perjur’d, soft, deluding Hypocrites,
That I’ve no Faith left for the cozening Sex,
Especially for Women of your trade.

Related Characters: Willmore (speaker), Angelica
Page Number: 187
Explanation and Analysis:

As Willmore continues to wrestle with his feelings for Angelica, he also reveals his own hypocrisy. As a poor cavalier with expensive tastes, Willmore must marry a rich woman (like Hellena) if he is to continue leading his extravagant life. Yet despite his need to exchange love for money, he condemns Angelica for doing the same, telling her that he cannot trust "Women of your trade"--prostitutes--because they are "deluding Hypocrites" who deceive him.

The calculating and aggressive Willmore here plays the victim, acting as if he has been wronged by mercenary women who use and abuse him. In fact, however, Willmore is often on the deceptive end himself, using whatever tactics necessary in order to persuade women to sleep with him. He seems to have conveniently forgotten this fact, however, in his strange but effective seduction of Angelica. 

Act 3, Scene 1 Quotes

O’ my Conscience, that will be our Destiny, because we are both of one humour; I am as inconstant as you, for I have considered, Captain, that a handsom Woman has a great deal to do whilst her Face is good, for then is our Harvest-time to gather Friends; and should I in these days of my Youth, catch a fitch of foolish Constancy, I were undone; ‘tis loitering by da-light in our great Journey: therefore declare, I’ll allow but one year for Love, one year for Indifference, and one year for Hate—and then—go hang yourself—for I profess myself the gay, the kind, and the inconstant—the Devil’s in’t if this won’t please you.

Related Characters: Hellena (speaker), Willmore
Page Number: 193
Explanation and Analysis:

Hellena, in her gypsy disguise, has discovered Willmore leaving Angelica's house. Although she first reacts with anger, she quickly slips back into her flirtatious banter with him. In this section, Willmore has just jokingly threatened to marry Hellena. In response, she says that they are equally "inconstant," because young, beautiful women like herself must also take advantage of their youth. She says that even if she fell in love with him, she would then quickly move on to "Indifference"and then "Hate" so as not to waste time. 

Once again, Hellena and Willmore have proved themselves the wittiest characters in the play. In the midst of their conversation, Hellena has once more reversed traditional gender roles. Of the pair of them, Willmore is the only truly inconstant one, attempting to seduce Angelica and Hellena almost simultaneously, while Hellena (secretly) wants only him. Here, however, she plays hard-to-get, telling Willmore that she would never be faithful to him because to do so would mean wasting her youth. This is a stereotypically masculine mindset, and not one that the audience--or Willmore--would expect from a highborn young lady. The cavalier, though, is delighted by Hellena's attitude towards love, lust, and romance. He is entranced by the very aspects that make her seem "un-feminine," and believes that he has truly met his match, in female form. 

Ah Rogue! Such black Eyes, such a Face, such a Mouth, such Teeth—and so much Wit!

Related Characters: Willmore (speaker), Hellena
Related Symbols: Masks
Page Number: 196
Explanation and Analysis:

Near the end of their banter, Hellena finally shows Willmore her face, before exiting. The cavalier is spellbound by her beauty, and is glad that it matches her linguistic abilities. 

Here the usually eloquent Willmore is reduced to listing Hellena's admirable features, ending with the most important one of all: her "Wit." His lovestruck attitude here contrasts with his usually witty words, showing the audience that he may have sincere feelings of love for Hellena. 

This passage also shows how closely Willmore relates beauty and wit. For him, they are essentially two sides of the same coin; beauty is the physical side of an attractive person, while wit is the linguistic side. Willmore's ideal woman--Hellena--possesses both. 

Act 3, Scene 3 Quotes

Florinda: I’ll cry Murder, Rape, or any thing, if you do not instantly let me go.
Willmore: A Rape! Come, come, you lie, you Baggage, you lie: What, I’ll warrant you would fain have the World believe now that you are not so forward as I. No, not you—why at this time of Night was your Cobweb-door set open, dear Spider—but to catch Flies?—Hah come—or I shall be damnably angry…

Related Characters: Willmore (speaker), Florinda (speaker)
Page Number: 202
Explanation and Analysis:

As a drunken and aggressive Willmore attacks the helpless Florinda, audiences and readers alike must confront the darkest side of the world of The Rover: the threat of sexual violence.

In a world in which men are encouraged to be violent, dominant, and sex-obsessed, while women are forced to be meek and submissive (while also guarding their virtues), sexual violence is a real and present danger. What makes this instance so upsetting, however, is that it is our hero, Willmore, who is attempting to rape the virtuous Florinda. His charming wit has transformed into misogynistic violence, as he asserts that Florinda left the gate of her home open in order to "catch" men like him. 

The truth, of course, is that Florinda has done nothing wrong, while Willmore has crossed the line from amusing rake into aggressive predator. In making her hero attempt to engage in a truly evil act, Aphra Behn is displaying how blurry that line truly is, and how quickly the men of this society can transform into violent and brutal aggressors. 

Act 3, Scene 4 Quotes

Belvile: Damn your debaucht Opinion: tell me, Sot, hadst thou so much sense and light about thee to distinguish her to be a Woman, and could’st not see something about her Face and Person, to strike an awful Reverence into thy Soul?
Willmore: Faith no, I consider’d her as mere a Woman as I could wish.

Related Characters: Willmore (speaker), Belvile (speaker), Florinda
Page Number: 204
Explanation and Analysis:

Enraged by his friend's attempt to violate his beloved, Belvile confronts Willmore, demanding to know why he attempted to rape Florinda. He asserts that Florinda's goodness and virtue must have shown in her "Face and Person," and that Willmore should have shown "Reverence" to such a chaste and noble (and wealthy) woman. 

Willmore, however, responds that he did not see any such signs about her; and that, instead, he "consider'd her as mere a Woman" as he could want. What he means, essentially, is that in his drunken and sexually aggressive state, women become interchangeable to him. He did not care what Florinda looked like or who she was; he cared only that she was a female, and therefore an object for him to conquer and possess. Once again, we see the darkness and the misogyny that underly Willmore's supposedly amusing antics. 

Act 4, Scene 2 Quotes

Oh, name not such mean Trifles.—Had I given him all
My Youth has earn’d from Sin,
I had not lost a Thought nor Sigh upon’t.
But I have given him my eternal Rest,
My whole Repose, my future Joys, my Heart;
My Virgin Heart. Moretta! Oh ‘tis gone!

Related Characters: Angelica (speaker), Willmore, Moretta
Page Number: 213
Explanation and Analysis:

Having fallen in love with Willmore, Angelica now finds that he is pursuing the rich, noble Hellena. A worldly woman, Angelica knows that even her beauty and sexual skills cannot compete with Hellena's high birth and riches. Bereft, she (like many of the characters) puts love in terms of money, realizing that she would rather have given him all her wealth ("all/ My Youth has earn'd from Sin") than her heart. She also refers to her heart as "Virgin"--for although Angelica has given her body to many men, Willmore is the first to whom she has given her love.

Although up until now we have viewed Angelica as a romantic rival for Hellena, here she becomes an example of the human cost of Willmore's rakishness. Giving in to his professions of love and his verbal eloquence, Angelica has bestowed her trust and her love on someone who did not truly deserve or desire it. 

Angelica: Thou, false as Hell, what canst thou say to this?
Willmore: By Heaven—
Angelica: Hold, do not damn thy self—
Hellena: Nor hope to be believ’d.
Angelica: Oh perjur’d Man!
Is’t thus you pay my generous Passion back?
Hellena: Why wou’d you, Sir, abuse my Lady’s Faith?
Angelica: And use me so inhumanly?
Hellena: A Maid so young, so innocent—
Willmore: Ah, young Devil!
Angelica: Dost thou not know thy Life is in my power?
Hellena: Or think my Lady cannot be reveng’d?
Willmore: So, so, the Storm comes finely on.
Angelica: Now thou art silent, Guilt has struck thee dumb.
Oh hadst thou still been so, I’d liv’d in safety.

Related Characters: Willmore (speaker), Hellena (speaker), Angelica (speaker)
Related Symbols: Masks
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:

A furious Angelica and a disguised Hellena both turn on Willmore, ripping him apart for his faithlessness and deceit. This is a highly comic scene, as both women are able to verbally abuse their disloyal lover. At the same time, it gives the audience a chance to see how truly hurt both Angelica and Hellena are by Willmore's actions--and how utterly unrepentant the rakish cavalier continues to be. 

This scene is also notable for Hellena's skillful manipulation of the circumstances. A master of disguise, the highborn lady is here dressed up as a servant boy, able to fool her lover into revealing his true, sinful nature, and to chide him without revealing to him who she is. She also manages to turn Angelica against him, thus potentially ridding herself of a romantic rival. 

If it were possible I should ever be inclin’d to marry, it should be some kind young Sinner, one that has Generosity enough to give a favour handsomely to one that can ask it discreetly, one that has Wit enough to manage an Intrigue of Love—oh how civil such a Wench is, to a Man that does her the Honour to marry her.

Related Characters: Willmore (speaker), Hellena
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:

The jealous Angelica here attempts to force Willmore to promise that he will never marry another woman. In response, Willmore paints a verbal picture of a woman whom Angelica believes does not exist: a "young Sinner" who is generous, beautiful, discreet, and as witty as he himself. 

What Angelica does not understand, of course, is that Willmore has described Hellena, using both his wit and his sincere admiration for the slippery noblewoman to fool Angelica. Once again, we see both Willmore's good and bad intermingled. On one hand, he continues to use and deceive Angelica; on the other, he is clearly entranced by Hellena, and seems to recognize her as his true match. While his treatment of Angelica is contemptible, it is up for readers to decide whether or not Willmore redeems himself with his genuine love and admiration for Hellena. 

He’s gone, and in this Ague of My Soul
The shivering Fit returns;
Oh with what willing haste he took his leave,
As if the long’d for Minute were arriv’d,
Of some blest Assignation.
In vain I have consulted all my Charms,
In vain this Beauty priz’d, in vain believ’d
My eyes cou’d kindle any lasting Fires.
I had forgot my Name, my Infamy,
And the Reproach that Honour lays on those
That dare pretend a sober passion here.
Nice Reputation, tho it leave behind
More Virtues than inhabit where that dwells,
Yet that once gone, those virtues shine no more.
—Then since I am not fit to belov’d,
I am resolv’d to think on a Revenge
On him that sooth’d me thus to my undoing.

Related Characters: Angelica (speaker), Willmore
Page Number: 221
Explanation and Analysis:

Realizing that Willmore has abandoned her for good, Angelica realizes that she has ruined herself for the faithless cavalier. While her beauty and seductive charms are famed around the city, there is nothing that she can do to bring her lover back. As Angelica grieves, she looks back to when she fell in love with Willmore, realizing that she has forgotten that she is a courtesan, and therefore is not worthy of loving or being loved.

In this mindset, Angelica vows--since she cannot be beloved, she will be revenged. Humiliated and heartbroken, it makes sense that Angelica takes this dark turn. She has met Willmore's passion with generosity, sincerity, and love. He has undoubtedly sinned in deceiving her (whatever her profession) and, in the eyes of both Angelica and the audience, he deserves to pay. Once more, we see the ruin that our supposed hero's lust and dishonesty can cause. 

Act 5, Scene 1 Quotes

Angelica: All this thou’st made me know, for which I hate thee.
Had I remain’d in innocent Security,
I shou’d have thought all Men were born my Slaves;
And worn my Pow’r like Lightning in my Eyes,
To have destroy’d at Pleasure when offended.
—But when Love held the Mirror, the undeceiving Glass
Reflected all the Weakness of my Soul, and made me know,
My richest Treasure being lost, my Honour,
All the remaining Spoil cou’d not be worth
The Conqueror’s Care or Value.
—Oh how I fell like a long worship’d Idol,
Discovering all the Cheat!
Wou’d not the Incense and rich Sacrifice,
Which blind Devotion offer’d at my Altars,
Have fall’n to thee?
Why woud’st thou then destroy my fancy’d Power?
Willmore: By Heaven thou art brave, and I admire thee strangely.
I wish I were that dull, that constant thing,
Which thou woud’st have, and Nature never meant me:
I must, like chearful Birds, sing in all Groves,
And perch on every Bough,
Billing the next kind She that flies to meet me;
Yet after all cou’d build my Nest with thee,
Thither repairing when I’d lov’d my round,
And still reserve a tributary Flame.

Related Characters: Willmore (speaker), Angelica (speaker), Willmore
Page Number: 237-238
Explanation and Analysis:

The heartbroken and vengeful Angelica confronts Willmore, attempting to get him to admit wrongdoing. As the cavalier continually refuses, saying that he only treated her the way she would have treated him, Angelica protests that this is not true. She explains that falling in love made her realize that her power over men (her clients) was worthless, because she had sacrificed her honor. She has now lost both her self esteem and her power, since she knows that as a prostitute, she has no real value. Essentially, Angelica has internalized the misogynistic worldview of the men around her. Because she is a woman who has sold her virtue, she believes she has no real worth in the world, and no real power. 

Hearing Angelica's deep grief, Willmore seems to display remorse. Despite his regret, however, he explains that he can never be "constant," as Angelica wants him to be. Instead, he must constantly chase after women, like a bird going from bough to bough. This is as close as Willmore ever comes to acknowledging the immorality of his behavior. He still genuinely admires Angelica (and here even considers returning to her after loving his "round"), but having won her, he feels compelled to move on to the next conquest. 

Nay, if we part so, let me die like a Bird upon a Bough, at the Sheriff’s Charge. By Heaven, both the Indies shall not buy thee from me. I adore thy Humour and will marry thee, and we are so one of one Humour, it must be a Bargain—give me thy Hand—and now let the blind ones (love and Fortune) do their worst.

Related Characters: Willmore (speaker), Hellena
Page Number: 243
Explanation and Analysis:

Reunited with Hellena, Willmore swears that he will marry her. Still as mercenary as ever, he proposes it as "a Bargain" to her, and swears that nothing will "buy thee from me." He wishes to marry her, he says, because they are "so of one Humour": both witty, passionate, and ultimately inconstant. 

Although the marriage of Hellena and Willmore represents a classic romantic comedy ending, it is unclear from this speech whether the couple will actually remain faithful to each other--or whether they even want to. The very "humour" (inner nature) that attracts them to each other has its roots in deception and rootlessness. Willmore loves Hellena because she constantly keeps him guessing, while Hellena loves Willmore because she must constantly chase and deceive him and order to keep him. They may be the perfect match, but it is highly doubtful that they will have the perfect marriage. 

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Willmore Character Timeline in The Rover

The timeline below shows where the character Willmore appears in The Rover. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 2
Love vs. Lust Theme Icon
Deceit and Disguise Theme Icon
Willmore, a reckless and promiscuous cavalier (hence the nickname “the Rover”), enters unexpectedly. Belvile and Frederick... (full context)
Love vs. Lust Theme Icon
Deceit and Disguise Theme Icon
Willmore expresses joy at finding himself in Naples, adding that his business for the time being... (full context)
Love vs. Lust Theme Icon
Deceit and Disguise Theme Icon
Wit and Language Theme Icon
The Englishmen, especially Wilmore, engage the prostitutes in conversation, noting that they each have notes pinned to their breasts... (full context)
Love vs. Lust Theme Icon
Deceit and Disguise Theme Icon
When a prostitute that Willmore admired leaves, he grows angry, complaining that he had just been about to fall in... (full context)
Love vs. Lust Theme Icon
Deceit and Disguise Theme Icon
Hellena immediately notices Belvile and points him out to Florinda. She notices Willmore too, calling him handsome, and decides to tell him his fortune. (full context)
Love vs. Lust Theme Icon
Deceit and Disguise Theme Icon
Wit and Language Theme Icon
Believing Hellena to be a gypsy, Willmore begins to banter and flirt with her, calling her a “young Devil.” Correctly identifying him... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Love vs. Lust Theme Icon
Deceit and Disguise Theme Icon
Wit and Language Theme Icon
Hellena retorts that she means to die a virgin, and Willmore tells her that she will damn herself by doing so, and that he will help... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Love vs. Lust Theme Icon
Deceit and Disguise Theme Icon
Wit and Language Theme Icon
After Hellena informs him that he will need to storm a nunnery to win her, Willmore tells her that she will be considered more virtuous if she tastes the pleasures of... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Love vs. Lust Theme Icon
Class and Money Theme Icon
Wit and Language Theme Icon
Asking Hellena to give him “Credit for a Heart,” Willmore asserts that he wishes to come first to her “Banquet of Love,” and asks her... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Love vs. Lust Theme Icon
Wit and Language Theme Icon
...She goes on to ask him whether there is a difference between love and lust. Willmore, in turn, tells her that the two go together. (full context)
Love vs. Lust Theme Icon
Deceit and Disguise Theme Icon
Class and Money Theme Icon
As Hellena and Willmore banter, Lucetta and Sancho plot—she is a prostitute and he is her pimp. They decide... (full context)
Love vs. Lust Theme Icon
Deceit and Disguise Theme Icon
...worried that the letter may be a trap, but the cavalier opens it anyway. Meanwhile, Willmore and Hellena have made plans to meet each other later in the evening; Hellena makes... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Deceit and Disguise Theme Icon
...Belvile rejoices, and begs his friends to help him rescue his love from Don Pedro. Willmore, although he has essentially no idea what is going on, says that he is always... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Love vs. Lust Theme Icon
Deceit and Disguise Theme Icon
Class and Money Theme Icon
...if she pretends to be in love with him (for Blunt is very trusting). When Willmore asks what kind of man Blunt is, Belvile and Frederick mock his stupidity and lack... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Love vs. Lust Theme Icon
Deceit and Disguise Theme Icon
Class and Money Theme Icon
Wit and Language Theme Icon
Willmore expresses jealousy that Blunt has found such a willing woman, and Frederick responds by asking... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Class and Money Theme Icon
Frederick tells Willmore about the beautiful Angelica, the former mistress of a now-deceased Spanish general and the object... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Deceit and Disguise Theme Icon
Belvile, Frederick, and Wilmore enter the same street, intending to seek out Angelica—the first two are masked, while Willmore... (full context)
Love vs. Lust Theme Icon
Deceit and Disguise Theme Icon
Wit and Language Theme Icon
Willmore says that he should have worn a mask as well, but then reflects that if... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Love vs. Lust Theme Icon
Class and Money Theme Icon
Belvile warns Willmore against falling in love with Hellena, saying that she is most likely too highborn to... (full context)
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...of herself outside of her door in order to remind the world of her desirability). Willmore expresses a wish to see the portrait, because it will allow him to gaze on... (full context)
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When Belvile and Willmore question him further, Blunt reveals that he does not know the name of his new... (full context)
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When Willmore says that they should all go to meet Lucetta, Blunt responds jealously, saying that he... (full context)
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...beautiful house. Belvile responds that there are many prostitutes with fine clothes and beautiful houses. Willmore, with his one-track mind, asks where he can find such women. (full context)
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...blame Angelica for the choosiness of women—she has “rais’d the Price too high,” they assert. Willmore expresses particular bitterness at Angelica’s unattainability. (full context)
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...of her front door; the pictures also include a price, since Angelica is a prostitute. Willmore is entranced by the picture, while Blunt scoffs, condemning Angelica as an immoral prostitute. (full context)
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Ignoring Blunt, Willmore marvels at Angelica’s beauty, saying that although she may cost a thousand crowns for a... (full context)
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...he, too, will pay a thousand pounds. The two men quarrel and begin to duel. Willmore and Blunt enter to part the fray, and Willmore comments that if fighting were all... (full context)
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Seemingly entranced, Willmore pulls down one of the pictures of Angelica, explaining the desire it has incited in... (full context)
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Believing that Willmore has insulted Angelica, Antonio threatens him with his sword; Willmore responds in kind, saying that... (full context)
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...Angelica asks Moretta what is happening. Although she commands the men to stop, Blunt and Willmore begin to fight Antonio and his companions. (full context)
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As he fights, Willmore continues to marvel at Angelica’s beauty. Angelica calls down to ask whether he is the... (full context)
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Angelica tells Willmore to keep the picture, but Antonio takes offense, and the fight continues. Belvile and Frederick... (full context)
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...his sword fighting skills, while Belvile is concerned that that the Spaniards will seek revenge. Willmore, meanwhile, is slightly wounded. They mock the Spaniards for their apparently easy defeat. (full context)
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Angelica calls down to Willmore, telling him to come into her house and explain his insolence. When Willmore agrees, Belvile... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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Inside her house, Angelica demands to know why Wilmore pulled down her picture; he responds by questioning why she dared to leave it outside,... (full context)
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Angelica replies that she brought him in to beg her pardon, but Willmore counters, saying that he has come into her house to chide her for the sin... (full context)
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Moretta mocks Willmore for his poverty, but Angelica tells her to stop. Moretta, however, continues, attempting to force... (full context)
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Willmore asks if he may buy just a few moments of time with Angelica, but Moretta... (full context)
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Aside, Angelica remarks that Willmore cannot enrage her and that, indeed, she is falling in love with him. Out loud,... (full context)
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Speaking aside again, Angelica exclaims that his words have reached her soul. Willmore goes on to say that he feels only lust for her, not love, for he... (full context)
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Moretta notices her mistress’s emotions, and once again tries to force Willmore out. Angelica, shaken out of her daze, snaps at Moretta, ordering her to leave. Turning... (full context)
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Angelica asks if Willmore could ever forget that her love and favor are for sale. She says that even... (full context)
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Despairing, Angelica asks if Willmore will scorn the first vows of love that she has ever made. Willmore, not believing... (full context)
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Angelica replies that Willmore has hurt her pride, and makes to leave. The cavalier physically restrains her, however, begging... (full context)
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When Angelica still insists on payment, Willmore calls her a fiend, before promising to pay her in “vows” and kissing her hand.... (full context)
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...who has remained silent until now, curses Angelica for falling pray to love. She abuses Willmore’s name, but acknowledges that most prostitutes face a similar fate: they win riches from foolish... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
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...but grew nervous and almost dropped her disguise completely. As Hellena begins to long for Willmore, Florinda and Valeria begin to mock her. Hellena acknowledges that she wishes she had never... (full context)
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Valeria speculates about Willmore’s promiscuity, and Hellena realizes that he may not come to meet her. Wondering what she... (full context)
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...good thing she is going to a convent, for there her sighs and tears for Willmore will be mistaken for piety. (full context)
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Noticing the Englishmen enter without her “inconstant” Wilmore, Hellena urges Valeria and Florinda to hide with her in order to see what is... (full context)
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...that Angelica’s picture has been removed. Blunt believes that Angelica may have been kind to Willmore, while Belvile worries that the courtesan has murdered his friend. Aside, Hellena’s heart speeds up... (full context)
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...knock, and Moretta answers from the balcony, asking what they want. When they ask after Willmore, Moretta curses him once again, but tells the group that he is coming to them. (full context)
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Willmore enters, having just exited Angelica’s house; Hellena, still hidden, responds with anger. As Belvile questions... (full context)
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Still boasting, Willmore praises the alcohol that he drank earlier in the day, calling it holy, and asserting... (full context)
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Blunt asks if Willmore and Angelica have married, and Willmore answers that they have shared all the joys of... (full context)
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Belvile asks Willmore if he has forgotten his gypsy girl. Willmore angrily responds that that he had forgotten... (full context)
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...comes out of hiding, tapping him on the back and asking if this is true. Willmore initially responds with fear, but soon slips back into flirtatious banter, asserting that he has... (full context)
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Asking how she may reward his devotion, Hellena takes up Willmore’s flirtatious tone. He, in turn, asks if he may see her face. She responds that,... (full context)
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Taking her boldness to a new level, Hellena sarcastically tells Willmore that she knows soldiers (like himself) to be strict and chaste men. For this reason,... (full context)
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Hellena counterattacks, telling Willmore that she is as inconstant as he is, and that she does not wish to... (full context)
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Incensed, the hidden Angelica expresses rage at Willmore’s inconstancy. (full context)
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Hellena tells Wilmore that they are alike, destined to fool men and women into loving them. She takes... (full context)
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...orders one of her bravoes, Sebastian, to learn Hellena’s identity, and commands Biskey to bring Willmore to her. (full context)
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Meanwhile, Hellena tells Willmore that she will unmask again only if he reveals what he was doing in Angelica’s... (full context)
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...Florinda leaves Belvile the jewel, which as it turns out contains a picture of her. Wilmore, too, bids goodbye to Hellena, saying that he must see her tomorrow. (full context)
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Willmore praises Hellena’s features and wit, while Belvile does the same for Florinda, cursing his own... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 3
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...Belvile is late. While she goes to hide the jewels, a drunk, belligerent, and masked Willmore enters, annoyed that he has been unable to find Belvile or Frederick. He decides that... (full context)
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Seeing Florinda, but with no idea who she is, Willmore accosts her, drunkenly demanding a kiss. When Florinda resists his advances, he persists, attempting to... (full context)
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Belvile and Frederick enter (they are masked), looking for Willmore. Hearing Florinda’s cries for help, they rush to her aid, pulling Willmore off of him.... (full context)
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...Florinda quickly instructs her lover to come to her chamber window, and tells him that Willmore has ruined their plan. She flees in the nick of time, just as Pedro enters,... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 4
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Belvile, Willmore, and Frederick enter the street outside of Don Pedro’s house; Willmore is dejected, Belvile furious,... (full context)
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...and Don Pedro). He wonders whether he may throw any obstacles in Antonio’s way, and Willmore swears he will help, asking who Antonio is. Belvile reveals that he has no idea... (full context)
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Seeing that they have reached Angelica’s house, Willmore recalls that he has promised to spend the night with her, and is about to... (full context)
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As Moretta enters to let Antonio into the house, Willmore reacts with rage that another man will be sleeping with Angelica. He and Antonio begin... (full context)
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Three masked revelers enter, and cry out that a man has been killed (Willmore has injured Antonio). Still extremely drunk, Wilmore says that if a man is dead, he... (full context)
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As Belvile attempts to find Willmore, worried about his friend despite their quarrel, a group of soldiers enter, having heard that... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
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...earn Belvile’s hatred; the Englishman pleads innocence, saying that he fought only in defense of Willmore. Honorably, Antonio gives Belvile a sword, saying that he has saved Belvile from being arrested.... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 2
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At just the wrong moment, Willmore and Frederick enter, looking for Belvile. Willmore is dressed in fine clothes that he has... (full context)
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Yet again enraged against Willmore, Belvile paces back and forth; Willmore knows that he has done something wrong, but does... (full context)
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Angelica enters with Moretta and Sebastian, demanding to know if Willmore has just left. Frederick reveals that he has, but says that he is in danger,... (full context)
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Sebastian reenters with Willmore, and Angelica turns away from him. Willmore asks why she flees when he pursues her... (full context)
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Angelica remains furious, accusing Willmore of courting Hellena for her two hundred thousand-crown fortune, and revealing that she saw him... (full context)
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Hellena herself enters, disguised as a boy. She recognizes both Angelica and Willmore; Moretta notices her, and, hoping that she is a page for Don Antonio, points her... (full context)
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Angelica refuses to speak to Willmore, who offers to leave. Meanwhile Hellena approaches, anxious to torment Willmore for his faithlessness. Secretly,... (full context)
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Hellena goes to speak to Angelica as Willmore repeatedly attempts to sneak off. The disguised girl tells the courtesan that she is a... (full context)
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Continuing on, Hellena relates how the Englishman jilted this noblewoman at the altar. Willmore now believes that she either speaks of a woman who is in love with him,... (full context)
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...Hellena offers to stop her tale, but Angelica, hoping to quench her own love for Willmore, begs the disguised Hellena to continue. She does so, pleading with Angelica to stop seeing... (full context)
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Consumed with jealousy, Angelica asks if Willmore is the man of whom Hellena speaks. He attempts to defend himself and paces around... (full context)
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With Angelica distracted, Willmore asks Hellena who her supposed mistress is, and how he can find her house. Hellena... (full context)
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Breaking the cycle at last, Angelica asks Hellena to look into Willmore’s face and identify him. As their eyes meet, the cavalier at last recognizes Hellena as... (full context)
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Willmore announces to Angelica that he has uncovered Hellena’s plot; Hellena worries that he has seen... (full context)
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After Willmore tells Hellena to return to her supposed mistress with a scornful message, Angelica attempts to... (full context)
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...he may see through her disguise. Angelica resolves to go see the viceroy’s son, and Willmore pretends to react jealously, asking if he should leave her to his rival. Seeing through... (full context)
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With Willmore gone, Angelica mourns his loss, and reveals that she has lost faith in herself and... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
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...Pedro on the street, the women put on their masks. The men enter, along with Willmore, and notice Florinda looking at them. Mistaking her glance as an invitation, Willmore follows her... (full context)
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Florinda reenters, chased by Willmore but still fearful of meeting her brother. She exits, only to be followed by both... (full context)
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...entered Belvile’s lodgings, and wonders if she intended to do so. At this point, however, Willmore enters, and Valeria is too afraid of him to follow her cousin inside, instead hiding.... (full context)
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...a massive stroke of bad luck, Florinda enters and begs Blunt to protect her from Willmore. Blunt is scornful and violent, telling Florinda that he would be more merciful to her... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 1
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...with a woman, no one believes him. In fact, hearing there is a woman within, Willmore jokingly comments that he must share her with his friends; he also betrays that Frederick... (full context)
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...others try to coax him into a good mood even as they continue mocking him. Willmore and Belvile express sympathy, while Pedro apologizes for the rudeness of his country, saying that... (full context)
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...to draw Blunt aside to avoid giving Florinda away to Don Pedro, but the indiscreet Willmore foils him, telling him that there can be no secrecy when a woman is involved.... (full context)
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Willmore proposes that they go see Florinda to determine whether she is a noblewoman or not.... (full context)
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...As Pedro exits, unaware that he is about to threaten his own sister, Belvile curses Willmore for his “mischief.” Willmore reacts peevishly, disappointed that he has lost the contest; Belvile bemoans... (full context)
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...prostitute. Simultaneously, Belvile and Florinda both worry that her brother will discover her identity, while Willmore wonders whether Florinda is the same woman whom he recently followed. (full context)
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A relieved Florinda embraces Valeria. Willmore and Blunt look on, confused, as Valeria urges Florinda and Belvile to marry each other... (full context)
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The page reenters with a priest, and the four lovers exit to be married. Willmore remains onstage to stand guard against Don Pedro’s return. The page enters once again, telling... (full context)
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Angelica enters, veiled and masked. Willmore runs to her, believing it to be his gypsy girl and demanding that she confess... (full context)
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Willmore attempts to talk Angelica out of her murderous intentions and Angelica laments that, even now,... (full context)
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...herself has broken hearts, but she maintains that she has always repaid her lovers’ vows. Willmore asserts that Angelica has grown spoiled and lazy because of her long liaison with the... (full context)
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Willmore seems to react with genuine remorse, saying that for her sake, he wishes that he... (full context)
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...the house. Though injured, he immediately takes away her pistol, only to offer to shoot Willmore himself, believing him to be a rival for Angelica’s love. The courtesan, however, begs him... (full context)
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...sees Don Antonio with Angelica. Obeying Angelica’s command, Antonio says that he will not shoot Willmore, for her sake. Angelica says that she will give Willmore life in order to demonstrate... (full context)
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The still angry Don Pedro resolves to give Florinda to Belvile in revenge against Antonio. Willmore reveals that the marriage has already taken place; he adds that if Belvile is anything... (full context)
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Belvile enters and is immediately suspicious of Willmore’s actions. Don Pedro asks if Belvile has married Florinda and, hearing that he has, wishes... (full context)
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As Willmore is about to exit, however, Hellena enters once again disguised in boy’s clothes, and pulls... (full context)
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Hellena asks whether he would have left her behind, and Willmore swears that they will never part again. She then questions whether an innocent virgin like... (full context)
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Both Hellena and Willmore agree that they should lose no time, and the cavalier proposes that they go up... (full context)
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Willmore asks her for at least one kiss, but Hellena shows him only scorn, saying that... (full context)
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Willmore proposes that they tell each other their names, so that they may curse each other... (full context)
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...Florinda is shocked to see her sister, and Pedro attempts to pull Hellena away, but Willmore protects her. Hellena announces that she is in love with Willmore, despite her brother’s anger. (full context)
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...Englishmen. Belvile responds that his friends have fallen on hard times, but are still gentlemen. Willmore asserts that he can give Hellena only his sword to protect her, but says that... (full context)
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Remembering Willmore’s threatening group of sailors, Don Pedro concedes. He adds that at least he will no... (full context)
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...masks to see if Lucetta is among them. As the other couples begin to dance, Willmore asks Hellena if she is frightened to marry him; she replies that she feels as... (full context)