Explain The Rover as a restoration comedy.

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The Restoration of Charles II to the English throne occurred in 1660 and with it, a new sub-genre of theatre began: Restoration Comedy. Restoration comedies were often bawdy (see William Wycherley's The Country Wife) and generally light in tone. The rise in popularity of such works is likely due to the merry attitude of Charles II as well as the general fatigue England felt after its many civil wars. People wanted entertainment that was light-heartened and satirical rather than Shakespearean tragedy.

Largely, The Rover embodies the spirit of Restoration Comedy, especially in its first half. Much of the enjoyment derived from the play comes from farce—that is, the slapstick tomfoolery and hijinks that the characters get themselves into. Take for instance, Lucetta's deception of the doltish Blunt which leaves him naked and without money. This scene is played purely for laugh as a likable character is able to fool someone who is unlikable.

However, despite its general adherence to the standards of Renaissance comedy, The Rover takes on a much darker tone in its second half: Lucetta's trick angers Blunt and he attempts to rape her. Though the rape never comes to fruition, it is still disturbing, especially to contemporary audiences.

The Rover is also unusual in that it takes a rather progressive stance on gender roles and female sexuality. For example, Angellica Bianca—whose initials mirror those of Aphra Behn, the play's author—despite being a prostitute, is perhaps the most morally conscious person in play.

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