By Kate Aughterson
Aphra Behn: The Comedies presents scholars with an approachable and interesting research of Behn's dramaturgical skills, displaying really how she makes use of comedian and dramatic conventions to radical ends. Kate Aughterson exhibits how the playwright forces her viewers to have interaction with matters approximately gender and sexuality, when carrying on with to put in writing witty and available performs.
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Additional resources for Aphra Behn: the Comedies (Analysing Texts)
Come, sir, forgive your nephew. Sir Cautious. Well, sir, I will; but all this while you little think the tribulation I am in: my lady has forsworn my bed. Sir Feeble. Indeed sir, the wiser she. 175 Sir Cautious. For only performing my promise to this gentleman. Sir Feeble. Aye, you showed her the difference, sir; you’re a wise man. Come, dry your eyes, and rest yourself contented; we are a couple of old coxcombs, d’ye hear, sir, coxcombs. 180 Sir Cautious. I grant it, sir, – (to Gayman) and if I die, sir, I bequeath my lady to you, with my whole estate: my nephew has too much already for a fool.
In each case such doubling is used to set up dramatic contrasts between two views or two approaches to the same subject: Is female chastity or libertinism the best course of action for women (The Rover)? Can libertinism provide greater happiness than constancy (The Feigned Courtesans)? Do the modes and practices of chivalric love fit into modern city life (The Lucky Chance)? In each case, the two sets of views are tested by the action of the play, and we ask ourselves whether the play comes to any conclusions about such views and debates.
This is radical both in its visual dramatic contrast with the first two betrothals, and in its expressed content. Words and physical action combine to show an alternative model of sexual politics. Yet once this has happened, why does the play not end here? We are presented with another 40 lines of near-buffoonery. What is the purpose of the appearance of the sub-plot here? The first and most immediate effect is humour: the appearance of the two characters’ Endings 45 heads through the curtains, laughed at by both gallants and audience, reinforces our connection to the gallants and distances us from the follies of Tickletext and Sir Signal.
Aphra Behn: the Comedies (Analysing Texts) by Kate Aughterson