"The Rover" by Aphra Behn (English Edition)
The Rover, or, The Banished Cavaliers is the most popular play by the Restoration playwright (and spy) Aphra Behn, first performed in 1677. Although Behn’s work as a spy for Charles II came to a sudden end with a spell in debtor’s prison, she was a stout Royalist, and the title refers to Charles’ supporters, who were living in exile on the Continent.
In the tradition of Restoration comedy, the play follows the wild exploits of a group of English gentlemen in Naples at Carnival time, although many of the tropes of the genre are subverted to an extent which sent shockwaves through the theatre world. Behn’s infamous libertine Willmore was an instant hit, and The Rover catapulted her to overnight fame, and brought her an income from the box office, making her one of the first women to earn a living by their pen.