Lover's Vows is a play that is significant because it reveals information about the integrity of the main characters in the novel. First, it is a play that the family knows their father, Sir Thomas, who currently is in Antigua, would not want them to perform because of its racy subject matter. Nevertheless, Henry and Mary Bertram, along with Tom and Maria, push hard for performing it, with the support of Mrs. Norris. Edmund and Fanny resist, insisting the play is inappropriate.
We see through their advocacy of the play that Tom and Maria are willful and determined to do what they want. The play is a way for Maria to engage in a covert flirtation with Henry, even though she is engaged to Mr. Rushworth, who also takes part in the play. Under the guise of the lines of the play, Maria and Henry can engage in love talk that normally would be forbidden. Maria's behavior during the play rehearsals foreshadows her eventual running off with Henry.
Edmund shows a...
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