The Rover


Aphra Behn

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Themes and Colors
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Love vs. Lust Theme Icon
Deceit and Disguise Theme Icon
Class and Money Theme Icon
Wit and Language Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Rover, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Gender Roles

In many ways, the characters of The Rover conform to the traditional gender roles found in comedies of the Restoration period: the dishonorable men, like Willmore, seek pleasure; the honorable men, like Belvile, seek to protect women; the honorable women, like Florinda, seek matrimony; and the dishonorable women, like Angelica and Lucetta, seek to ensnare men. Men bear swords and seek out violence; women are peaceful and are threatened by violence.

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Love vs. Lust

The characters within The Rover constantly try to distinguish whether they are feeling love or lust. The line between the two is a blurry one, but an incredibly vital question within the play. In fact, each character can be defined by their attitude towards these two emotions. In general, men prefer lust while women seek out love, but the play complicates matters. The rakish Willmore uses the ambiguity between love and lust to his advantage…

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Deceit and Disguise

The Rover takes place at Carnival time, and brims with masks and disguises, from the gypsy costumes that Hellena, Florinda, and Valeria wear to Don Antonio’s and Don Pedro’s comedy of mistaken identities to Lucetta’s robbery of Blunt. Fascinatingly, however, the play does not take a moral stance on disguise, since it is used by moral and immoral characters alike. The play does, however, create a strong connection between disguise and love…

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Class and Money

Although not a particularly romantic topic, the issue of money runs throughout The Rover. The cavaliers constantly bemoan the fact that they do not have sufficient funds, while Don Pedro picks a husband for his sister based almost solely upon fortune. Angelica, too, is obsessed with money, and must crucially decide whether she will give her heart to Willmore for free, or hold out for the highest bidder. In fact, the themes of…

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Wit and Language

In the largely immoral world of The Rover, wit and facility with language are the most highly prized virtues that a person can possess. The characters constantly reference wit, and the audience is invited to judge the inhabitants of the play based on how clever they are. Blunt, for instance, is instantly a figure of fun as soon as the audience hears his dull, plodding speech; he becomes even more so when he…

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