The Play

(Survey of Dramatic Literature)

Set in Naples during the annual carnival, Part I of The Rover begins with a conversation between two sisters. Hellena’s family plans for her to become a nun, but she is clearly more interested in men than in God. Her sister, Florinda, is in love with the English colonel Belvile, a cavalier, who saved her life during the Siege of Pamplona. Her brother, however, wants her to marry the wealthy Don Antonio, while her father wants her to marry the ancient Don Vincentio. Defying their brother, the two unhappy sisters, disguised, attend the carnival, where they encounter three Englishmen: Belvile, Willmore, and Blunt. Hellena is reunited with Belvile, and Willmore the Rover is immediately attracted to Hellena, who is disguised as a gypsy. Blunt, a foolish character who is paying for the other Englishmen’s trip, falls under the spell of Lucetta, who plans to steal his money.

Both Don Pedro and Don Antonio are attracted to the famous courtesan Angelica Bianca. While the two noblemen fight over her, Willmore seduces Angelica, who reluctantly falls in love with him. Willmore, however, quickly turns his attention back to Hellena, who insists on marriage before pleasure. At Lucetta’s house, Blunt is deceived and robbed before falling through a trapdoor into a sewer. After inadvertently disrupting Florinda and Belvile’s romantic plans, Willmore wounds Don Antonio outside Angelica’s house. Soldiers then seize Belvile, whom they mistake for Willmore....

(The entire section is 600 words.)