Carnival time in The Rover is a period when prohibitions are temporarily removed, privileges and rank suspended, and women – from convent girls to courtesans – take the initiative. Featuring multiple plot lines, which deal with the adventures of a group of love-struck Englishmen in Naples, Aphra Behn’s play explores issues of love, trickery and deception, forced marriage, male power, fidelity, and the excesses of sexual passion. Hers is a male-dominated society, but one with a clear-sighted portrayal of the female predicament.
The play is widely taught on A Level courses as well as on undergraduate literature and women’s writing courses. This new edition contains a completely new introduction, and takes into account important criticism from the past decade, as well as a new understanding of the nature of theatre in Behn’s time, and the significance of her contribution to English drama.