Sex and Sexuality in the Rover

July 15, 2019 by Essay Writer

Sex and sexuality as historical constructs acquired new meanings in the Restoration, with them becoming the essential components of the economy of exchange. Situated amidst the popular libertine culture, the ideals of love, virtue and more importantly, the image of the woman was being redrawn, with her sexuality and resulting autonomy being redefined. Dithering ambiguity ruled over the question of the ownership of a woman’s body, be it a virgin or a whore. The power structures within the Restoration society were gradually changing due to the heavily influential trading economy and the transformed ‘gaze’. This essay will try to analyse how the ‘Repressive Hypothesis’, as Foucault calls it ends up inciting a discourse centred on sexuality, backed by the changes in ‘the gaze’ and thus, the resulting ethos. The libertine culture contributed much to the rise of prostitution as an active economic activity. Keeping that in mind, the essay will attempt to trace how the constructs of sex and sexuality in a trading economy, firmly enmeshed in power structures determine the identity of a woman, her sexuality and autonomy.

Sexuality in the seventeenth century constantly oscillates between free expression and forceful repression, entrenched in the volatile structures of power. It has been contended that this period saw the rise of repression against sexuality, on the backdrop of the rise of capitalism. The nature of sex changed from being a potentially productive activity to a pleasurably commercial activity, one which sustained the economy of exchange. The repression incited productive discourses on sexuality too, which the Restoration theatre faithfully exhibited.

Most Restoration plays, be it a comedy or a tragedy border on a morbid obsession with sex and sexuality. The early Restoration plays are about libertines and their excessively sexual, ecstatic lives. However, it isn’t as if the excessive display of sexuality on stage or moral diatribes against such excesses popped up suddenly. The presence of these conflicting forces can be attributed to the court politics of Charles II, the Merry Monarch of the Restoration. His merry-making was faithfully imitated by many of his followers, who lived their lives like Willmore, the Rover. Needless to say, such a pleasurable existence was despised by many citizens, primarily for its immorality and for the extravagant spending of public funds.

There is indeed a backlash to the Restoration’s libertine values, the most popular tirade(possibly Puritan) against it being Jeremy Collier’s A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage in 1698. In it, Collier denounces ‘their Smuttiness of Expression; Their Swearing, Profainness, and Lewd Application of Scripture…Their making their Top Characters Libertines and giving them Success in their Debauchery…the Rankness and Indecency of their Language’.[1]

Such a backlash as an evident repression also brings about the desire to talk about sex, albeit in a controlled discourse. There is a gradual transition in terms of how the discourse on sexuality operated, from focusing on its productive role[2] to a profitable, commercial role. Though it is not the focus of our discussion, it is important to note that at this juncture, the categories of sexuality opened up and many deviant types were sleekly accepted into the current spectrum.

Sexuality as a term can be defined as the sexual receptivity or interest of an individual. Interestingly, the seventeenth century seems to have had no moral scruples, since it boats of a reasonable frankness regarding sex and sexuality of its society[3]. Though The Rover doesn’t even once mention the word ‘Sex’ meaning copulation[4], the idea is quite warmly ‘in the air’, harping on everyone’s mind, be it the characters, actors or the spectators themselves. Indeed, the Restoration stage was quite familiar with illicit gestures, revolutionary transgressions and freer discourse. The ‘bodies’ on the stage would be on display as an alluring act.

As the act of ‘sex’ was integrated into the circuits of profit and production, the prostitute occupying the threshold space begins to be an active participant in the economy. Sexuality as a construct of power dynamics conjoined with money evolves around the prostitute, client and the pimp and around the lover, the beloved and the estates attached. Angelica selling herself for a thousand crowns and Hellena proposing to use her money to marry threatens to erase any difference between them. So does the incident concerning Willmore and Florinda, when he thinks of Florinda as a prostitute and so, pays her a pistole as advance payment for the services she is going to render. For Willmore, any woman is to be taken and exploited if she ‘looks available’[5] and can be monetarily compensated.

The ‘Repressive Hypothesis’ as termed by Foucault has been the fundamental link between power, knowledge and sexuality. The suppression of any expression brings out an opposite reaction in the form of a controlled rebellion. This is self-evident from Florinda and Hellena’s life in The Rover and how they attempt to achieve some freedom, thought the nature of that freedom achieved is debatable. The play begins with Hellena being refused knowledge about the life of lovers, just because she is going to enter the nunnery. She persists, discursively bargaining with Florinda and actively participating in a discussion about marriage and its aftermath, savouring every minute detail.[6] Moreover, Hellena is determined to fall in love and marry, not waste away her treasures in the nunnery. When she meets Willmore, Hellena is quite sure about the power she wields over him; she has won him over with her thriving sexuality, but just that wouldn’t sustain their relationship. Willmore being a Rover would certainly seize the opportunity to jump over to another ship whenever possible. The only way she discovers to keep him tied down is to marry him, though whether that is a permanent, valid solution is left unanswered.[7]

If one thinks about the nature of repression visible in the text, it is mainly in terms of suppressing the freedom of women and exploiting their sexuality. Any such suppression is battled by speaking about it and thus, defying authority and hoping for freedom in the future. In Act I of the play, Hellena’s erotically charged diatribe against Florinda marrying Don Vincentio, the old Sir Fifty for mere jointure is met with nonchalant, yet smothering responses from Don Pedro. For all she says against the match, Don Pedro just replies with ‘Very Well’ and ‘Have you done yet?’[8] In the end, he terms her a wildcat and orders her to be locked up till the Carnival ends. Hellena, by disregarding the nunnery is looking forward to sexual freedom and autonomy in the near future. For that very purpose, her dialogues are extensively pepped with erotic overtones and carnal pleasures implicitly implied. She thus attempts to establish herself outside the reach of power, yet be the one wielding power in any relationship.

However, for the hegemonic, masculinistic forces operating in the play, it is of essence to gain mastery over any such attempts to freedom. For that very purpose, they begin subjugating the ideal of freedom at the level of language, controlling free speech and facile claims to autonomy or even identity of the self.[9] Willmore’s encounter with Florinda in Act III would be a good example. Florinda appears in the garden in an undress, waiting for Belvile; Willmore enters the garden first, drunk and takes Florinda to be a whore, whom he can sleep with. Inspite of her protests, he is determined to enjoy her there and then. Her threats of calling out for help or calling out rape are ignored, as Willmore highlights the pitiful position she is in. At that moment, she is not Florinda, but a woman who kept the door open and so was clearly inviting clients to enter.[10] Willmore is discursively obliterating Florinda’s identity as a chaste woman and gradually pushing her to the position of a whore, who can be bought for a pistole.

As the dichotomy between repression and expression is explored through multiple heated exchanges in the play, it ends up evoking an intensified form of revolutionary speech, often optimistic. It is backed by reason and a ferocious expression of implied autonomy. This is evident in Act V when Hellena defends her choice of refusing the divine nunnery and choosing a debauched life. She argues for spending her inheritance of three hundred thousand crowns on her love life than lifeless religion.[11] She thus attempts to express her autonomy amidst a hostile atmosphere of repression.

The Restoration saw many changes occur in terms of gender and the resulting power dynamics. There evolved a clearer distinction between men and women and their roles in both public and private spheres. At this juncture, the men began seeing themselves as a group ‘as men’, along with a gradual shift from Renaissance paternal patriarchy to a fraternal patriarchy.[12] Masculine authority underwent structural changes, shifting from the man as the figurehead of the family to the man as a leader sharing power. The categorization of gender led to the development of a homo-social group[13], further leading to the domination of masculine figures in the public sphere and the pushing of the feminine into the private domain. This is perhaps the reason why most women of that period were inherently (and legitimately) obsessed with accessing the public domain.

During the Restoration, comedy as a genre develops around sexuality too, with an unusual fascination for focusing on prostitution. Sexual intrigue is at its best, as the construct of the masculine and the feminine breaks up into multiple varied identities. The Rover is itself constructed out of these multiple identities of both men and women and how these identities are often blurred. Willmore is perhaps the most constant Constant[14] as he himself proclaims, remaining the libertine he is till the play ends. Belvile remains the quintessential, benevolent Renaissance lover while Blunt, the dull believing country fop realizes that he has been cheated due to his naïve character, and thus begins suspecting every woman[15]. Amongst the women, it becomes hard to distinguish between the virgin and the whore as the play progresses. Florinda is taken for a prostitute twice, while Angellica desires to rise above being a whore, having lost her heart to the English Piccaroon.

The various models of sexuality in the play are quite evident the way they are visually represented on stage. It had become important for certain characters to be dressed lavishly, to let the spectators focus on their bodies, which is a role for most women. They had to attempt to be the focus of ‘the gaze’, to be deemed marketable and have a profitable value. It is the role of the prostitute, whose portraits are hung outside her apartment, to entice customers. The portraits are in Simulacrum, acquiring an identity of their own away from the original copy, the prostitute herself. The clients will decide whether the thousand crowns are to be paid, depending upon the attractiveness of the portraits. As noticed, both Willmore and Pedro are enticed by the portraits, willing to pay the amount required.[16]

The way the actors[17] are dressed or positioned on stage decides their image and in turn, their sexuality. Florinda’s identity as a chaste woman is erased when she is in undress[18], or when she is masked[19], pushing her to the position of a whore. Both Willmore and Don Pedro seek access to her body, even though it might be against her wishes. Another worthy example of how sexuality is visually expressed would be the Fop in any Restoration play. He is usually dressed extravagantly, with numerous physical embellishments, as the courtiers in the old Renaissance plays used to dress.[20] The Fop is often associated with an outdated model of masculinity and a current form of femininity since he desires to attract ‘the gaze’, which is the sole role of any woman in the exchange economy. In contrast, the other ‘masculine’ men appear dressed simply, even for a carnival. There is a gradual emasculation of the Fop, which separates him from any other male character. In The Rover, Blunt is quite fascinated with his physical appearance and is flattered when he presumes that Lucetta has fallen for him.[21] Blunt desires to be looked at rather than looking, which has long become a clichéd feminine pursuit.[22]

The ‘gaze’ in the Restoration, along with its power dynamics is closely linked to the induction of the female actress on stage.[23] Any female actress or even a female playwright was deemed to possess a freer sexuality. For the female playwright, putting out her work in the public domain and commercially engaging with it was equal to selling herself. If the playwright be married and was writing, it amounted to adultery, since she was sharing what was her husband’s private property, albeit intellectual. [24]In most cases, the female playwright would be placed in an equal position to that of a prostitute. Similarly, even the female actresses were often attacked vitriolically by sexuality, termed as overtly promiscuous and deemed shameless whores. Even men who acted were suspected of compromising with their sexuality. [25]

The gaze as a gendered construct is a legacy inherited from the Renaissance; however there has been a transition in the position of the object of the gaze, from a masculinistic to a feminized one.[26] In the Renaissance, boy actors used to enact the female characters in the play, the audience being cognizant of that fact, yet comfortably ignoring it. The theatre used to focus on what the body produces, in terms of expressions and emotions. Since it was a boy-actor masquerading as a woman, there was less attention paid to the physical attributes; sexual, materialistic descriptions of either men or women are hard to be found. Even the most sexualised characters in the Renaissance, like Cleopatra from Antony and Cleopatra are scantily described (physically), with negligible materialist, sexual overtones. However, as one shifts to the Restoration, there’s a deluge of physical representation, focusing on what the body is [27]and suppressing the abstract. This is more applicable to the women, since there is a gradual and intensified visual fetishization of the female body. The women in The Rover are visually objectified, in terms of their physical attributes and the pleasures they might possible beget for the men. They are seemingly valued by their ‘exchange’ and ‘use’ value. Angellica and her portraits are at the extreme end of the spectrum, with intense visual objectification and an indication of active participation in the trading economy. Moreover, the transition of ‘the gaze’ has both effected a differing identification of the masculine and the feminine, but consequently blurred the contradictions within. In the play, Angellica is the inaccessible prostitute, but once she begins loving Willmore, which is quite uncharacteristic of women in her profession, Willmore becomes the inaccessible lover.[28] There is an active reconfiguration of the scopic economy in the play, as Angellica attempts to attain Willmore bywinning him over with her love.

Moreover, if we attempt to answer the question of the supposed excess of sexual display on the Restoration stage in relation to the repressive hypothesis, one can possibly connect it to the itemization of the female actress’s body. In sync with the gradual commodification of sexuality, the materiality of the female body is emphasised upon, to perhaps stress upon the authenticity of the actress playing the role.[29] Also, the actress’s sexuality is closely linked to her professional identity. Thus, the emergence of the female actress on stage along with the gradual materiality of sexuality helps trace the transition of the ‘gaze’ as a gendered construct.

The Rover as a play primarily sustains itself on the economy of exchange, with sexual relationships as its legal trading currency. Set amidst a carnival, the play functions with men as the traders, cleverly bargaining to bag the best offer possible, while the women function and rebel against being the object of the gaze[30]. However, these positions are fluid enough to create a chaotic plot, with multiple constructs being defined and redefined. The traditional rhetoric of love is gently trashed, though not completely disregarded while desire,[31] conjoined with a profitable exchange is pushed to the fore as an influencing factor. Though Belvile and Florinda plead loyalty to being quintessential Renaissance lovers, their relationship would be thought of as an outdated one. Belvile’s nuanced musings concerning Florinda and his supposedly romantic antics would probably amuse the audience but not connect emotionally with them. Florinda’s stressing of chaste love subsuming any considerations of money[32] in a purely commercialized market would be thought of as immature.[33] In the Restoration, the material and sexual considerations underline the ethereal qualities of love.[34] Willmore is the expert player, evading marriage, advocating temporary liaisons which prove profitable and includes choosing the right woman due to her firm financial background.[35]

The power dynamics in the economy of exchange banks on two social institutions, prostitution and marriage. Both men and women were looked upon as a medium of sustaining oneself economically, as Florinda is to be betrothed for a jointure while Willmore is all the more attracted to Hellena after he learns of her being worth two hundred thousand crowns. [36] As is Willmore, the libertines with their extravagant sexual tastes and lifestyles would often slump to the lower end of the economic spectrum. To improve their financial standing and to further fund their sexual exploits, they search for women to be in a relationship with. In a fit of love, Angellica provides Willmore with five hundred crowns[37], which he presumably spends on other women, but doesn’t reciprocate the love he receives from her. As Moretta curtly observes, Willmore would have remained chained to Angellica, provided he had remained poor. However, after having been rendered with sufficient funds, he moves on to the next woman.

The other institution that sustained the economy of exchange was prostitution, as a profession and a flourishing trade. It was majorly attached to the sale of the woman’s body and the pleasures attached to it. Though prostitution as a trade had been prevalent for ages, the Restoration saw it evolve as one of the important economic activities, possibly due to the promoted rise in the number of libertines. Complicit with the rise in rakes was perhaps the rise in the number of prostitutes, who could be relished for money and yet, didn’t carry any horrid baggage of relationships.

In the economy of exchange, the prostitute operates as the primary commodity, up for trade, with her identity being pushed to the background. Her image is constructed by men, her clients and herself; out of the contradictions amongst the two evolves the true, money-minded prostitute. Plainly put, she is a woman, receptive to the lascivious approaches by men, provided they can pay the stated price. Her identity as a woman is non-existent, as we see in the encounter between Willmore and Florinda.[38] Willmore sees her as a woman, who had kept the door open and so, she is open to being taken, even though Florinda professes to be virtuous and not a whore. The mention of rape worsens the situation, as it essentially means that the woman’s desire, be it a prostitute or not, doesn’t matter for the libertine if he can pay for the sexual services she renders. (Perhaps, not every prostitute can afford to choose her clients like Angellica does.) This complicates the idea of the ownership of a woman’s body and the autonomy that Behn’s heroines attempt to express throughout the play.

The Restoration stage had problematized the ideals of ‘virtue’ and ‘chastity’, the identity of a woman as a virgin or a whore was ever ambiguous, being always on the periphery of either category. Moreover, it was perhaps possible to shift from one category to another, but not without any massive repercussions. Angellic[39]a, despite being a prostitute professes love for Willmore, a quirky and dangerous characteristic for any woman of her profession. That renders her helpless and deprives her of the power she earlier used to wield over Willmore and the other men. As she shifts from the position of the object of the gaze, her market value continues to decline. The end of the play doesn’t suggest any worthwhile existence for Angellica, with Antonio professing his desire for her and him probably as her next lover, while she pines away for Willmore.

It appears as if the prostitute in an exchange economy can only wield power, though facile in a libertine culture if she manages to remain sexually desirable, emotionally aloof and economically shrewd. She would then be able to choose her own clients and fix her own rate. However, this is all more of hypothetical power, far from reality perhaps. The play and the Restoration stage itself seem to suggest that she becomes a free-floating commodity, losing her autonomy as she pledges her body in the market for sale and circulation. Her life is stuck with moving on from one lover to the other, latched to a masculine figure for her economic and physical existence. If such is her pitiful existence, forever engrossed in balancing acts, is then prostitution an act of role-playing?

The ‘Finis’ of the play questions and contradicts the very economy of exchange by which it operates. At the beginning, most of the characters swear to be Homo Economicus[40], as rational humans, pursuing their ends intently in the economy; be it Angellica, Willmore or even Hellena. But, as the curtains drop, the situations have been reversed. Despite having been an astute prostitute, Angellica falls in love with Willmore thus depreciating her value in the market herself. When rejected by that libertine, she goes off with Antonio, one of her lovers and would probably live as a parasite on numerous estates thereafter.[41] Willmore chooses Hellena for her money and agrees to be bound by the institution of marriage, perhaps not considering whether that will hinder his existence as a libertine.[42] Having desired to ramble in life[43], Hellena chooses Willmore as her companion, that inconstant libertine, who attempts his best to avoid any institutionalizing of their relationship. Agreed that persuading Willmore to marry her is a masterstroke, which perhaps provides her with a secure future, but her choice itself mightn’t necessarily be the wisest one.

The Rover as a play is thus riddled with numerous complications arising out of an active engagement with the economy of exchange. The constructs of sex and sexuality have evolved and possess new identities in the Restoration. Along with the incitement to discourse about sexuality is the intense repression of it, albeit through the market. The women in the play attempt to explicitly express their desires and struggle to be autonomous. But, if analysed closely, it is a farce. The sexualities of the women are being brutally exploited, their bodies being itemized by ‘the gaze’ and their identities obliterated beyond recognition. Moreover, the solutions adopted by the women, in fact, subvert their autonomy. The supposed repressive hypothesis along with the strong influence of a materialist economy evokes the active stimulation and voracious display of bodies[44], while obscuring identities and pushed the structures of power into total disarray. The conclusion of the play leaves us with multiple questions, regarding the social position of the woman, either as a virgin or as a whore and her autonomy along with the nature of sexuality itself. The economy of exchange seems to be juggling with the power structures while closely engaging with the ‘gaze’ and the very nature of the trading market when aligned with sexuality. In the end, it becomes difficult to wrench out anything from the ensuing chaos, since nothing seems to be constant like Willmore is.

(4880 Words)

Notes

·Behn, Aphra. The Rover. Worldview, 2016. Print.

· Foucault, Michel, and Robert Hurley. “We “Other Victorians”” The History of Sexuality. New York: Vintage, 1988. 1-14. Print.

· Foucault, Michel, and Robert Hurley. “The Repressive Hypothesis.” The History of Sexuality. New York: Vintage, 1988. 15-50. Print.

· Corman, Brian. “Comedy.” The Cambridge Companion to English Restoration Theatre. By Deborah Payne Fisk. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge UP, 2000. 52-69. Print.

·J. Owen, Susan. “Sexual Politics and Party in Aphra Behn’s. Plays of the Exclusion Crisis.” (1994): 37-47. Print.

· Novak, Maximillian E. “Libertinism and Sexuality.” A Companion to Restoration Drama. By Susan J. Owen. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell, 2001. 53-68. Print.

· Rosenthal, Laura J. “Masculinity in Restoration Drama.” A Companion to Restoration Drama. By Susan J. Owen. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell, 2001. 92-108. Print.

. Fisk, Deborah Payne. “The Restoration Actress.” A Companion to Restoration Drama. By Susan J. Owen. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell, 2001. 69-92. Print.

Footnotes [1] Collier, Jeremy. “A Short View of the Immorality, and Profaneness of the English Stage.”Web. 20 Mar. 2016.[2] It would be appropriate to term it as ‘a familial role’, to provide the family with an heir. The very act of sex wasn’t seen as a ‘purely’ pleasurable act, rather it was a strictly formal procedure to gain respectable acceptance to the society. [3] Foucault, Michel, and Robert Hurley. “We “Other Victorians”” The History of Sexuality. New York: Vintage, 1988. 1-14. Print.[4] There is slight ambiguity regarding the period when the word ‘Sex’ meaning copulation originated, though dictionaries place it at 1350-1400.Moreover, to clarify, the word ‘Sex’ is used in the play, but only in terms of gender, not the act. (…I love Mischief strangely, as most of our Sex do… (1.1.26))[5] 3.5.30-70[6] 1.1.121-28 & 1.1.30-34[7] Rover Part II talks about Willmore’s exploits after Hellena’s death, but there isn’t any details about their private life.[8] 1.1.117/1.1.23[9] This is an extension of Foucault’s argument regarding Sex – ‘…As if in order to gain mastery over it(Sex) in reality, it had first been necessary to subjugate it at the level of language, control its free circulation in speech, expunge it from the things that were said…’[10] ‘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?’ (3.5.56-60)[11] 5.1.535-539[12] Rosenthal, Laura J. “Masculinity in Restoration Drama.” A Companion to Restoration Drama. By Susan J. Owen. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell, 2001. 92-108. Print[13] Along with the emergence of the homo-social group, there is a realization of it rupturing, as it happens in Act III, Scene 6. The sharing of women within the group can happens only through discourse, however Willmore almost rapes Florinda, thus leading to the rupturing of the group.[14] ‘I am call’d Robert the Constant.’(5.1.491)[15] He remains the Fop at the end of the play too, entering the stage as ‘an odd figure…dressed in a Spanish habit…’ (5.1.558/5.1.560)[16] However, Willmore laments his state of poverty that prevents him from buying Angellica’s services. (2.1.110-115)[17] I refer to them as actors but they are essentially characters.[18] (3.5.56-60)[19] 5.1.113[20] ‘…The fop’s outstanding characteristic is excess: a giant wig, too much lace, exaggerated gestures, copious theatricality…’ Rosenthal, Laura J. “Masculinity in Restoration Drama.” A Companion to Restoration Drama. By Susan J. Owen. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell, 2001. 92-108. Print.[21] I have Beauties which my false Glass at home did not discover.’ (1.2.220)[22] Subsequently, Blunt becomes a Homo Economicus, as he is described by his possessions. (3.2.38-45)[23] Fisk, Deborah Payne. “The Restoration Actress.” A Companion to Restoration Drama. By Susan J. Owen. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell, 2001. 69-92. Print. [24] Fisk, Deborah Payne. “The Restoration Actress.” A Companion to Restoration Drama. By Susan J. Owen. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell, 2001. 69-92. Print.[25] (This can be linked to the changes that masculinity is going through at this time and how they did become the object of the gaze at times.) Rosenthal, Laura J. “Masculinity in Restoration Drama.” A Companion to Restoration Drama. By Susan J. Owen. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell, 2001. 92-108. Print. [26] Rosenthal, Laura J. “Masculinity in Restoration Drama.” A Companion to Restoration Drama. By Susan J. Owen. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell, 2001. 92-108. Print.[27] Fisk, Deborah Payne. “The Restoration Actress.” A Companion to Restoration Drama. By Susan J. Owen. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell, 2001. 69-92. Print.[28] 4.2.132[29] ‘…actresses did make possible a more physical, less abstract, representation…Restoration drama…tends to underscore the materiality of the female body, as if to emphasize the authenticity of the actress playing the part…’ Fisk, Deborah Payne. “The Restoration Actress.” A Companion to Restoration Drama. By Susan J. Owen. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell, 2001. 69-92. Print.[30] I would prefer to call the gaze a ‘commercial gaze’ here, as it is more apt for the market.[31] The text also celebrates female desire for sexual freedom, and the spatial reallocations happening in the text which is far more satisfactory than the facile, misogynist ending.[32] 1.1.70-85[33] However, Florinda mightn’t out rightly ignorant, as she often refers to her economic value in the market, and even substitutes herself in Angellica’s place, as a saleable commodity out there. (4.2.10-13)[34] Dasgupta, Anannya. “Whether She Be of Quality or for Your Diversion: The Harlots and Ladies in The Rover.” The Rover. Worldview, 2016. 126-38. Print.

Moreover, the language of sentiments in the play is inherently deceptive, since it is discovered to be actually be the language of materials.[35] Almost every woman (even the prostitute) in the play is a Homo Economicus, defined and valued by the money she possesses. Even men are Homo Economicus, like Ned Blunt extensively described by his possessions. (3.4.38-48)[36] (4.2.198-199) Later, Pedro accuses Willmore of the same. (5.1.519-20)[37] 4.2.149-150[38] True, Florinda isn’t a prostitute but a chaste woman, but at this juncture, she is almost relegated to the position of a prostitute.[39] In this essay, I haven’t focused much on Lucetta. There is gradation amongst prostitutes as well, and Lucetta is the calculating, unemotional prostitute, who cares for only money. She is even willing to subsume herself under a masculine figure if it yields money.[40] (‘…economic man…consistently rational and narrowly self-interested agents usually pursue their subjectively-defined ends optimally…’) “Homo Economicus.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.[41] This is infact the fate of every prostitute, to be mistresses of gentlemen and be parasites on their estates.[42] It is true that he marries her for her money, which will further fund his libertine activities. However, it might happen that his freedom might be curtailed by Hellena, the Inconstant.[43] 1.1.194[44] Foucault, Michel, and Robert Hurley. “The Repressive Hypothesis.” The History of Sexuality. New York: Vintage, 1988. 15-50. Print.

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