Questions and Answers: Act I

Questions
1. Why is the opening scene of The Rover unusual for a Restoration comedy?

2. Who does Willmore represent historically? What traits do the two share?

3. What is happening in Naples during the play? What is traditional for that event?

4. How does Florinda reveal herself to Belvile?

5. Why does Willmore find himself attracted to Hellena?

Answers
1. The opening scene begins with two women discussing ways to satisfy their desires. This is unusual because in most plays men were the center of the action and women did not express desires.

2. Willmore, the banished cavalier, represents Charles II, the recently reinstated King of England. Charles II was well known for his affairs with women and amorous exploits, and Willmore shares the name associated with supporters of Charles II as well as his promiscuous kind of behavior.

3. The Rover takes place during Carnival, which was a time of costuming, masquerade, promiscuity and anonymous flirtation. Men and women of every class mingled and courted each other, drank and celebrated, all wearing masks.

4. Florinda gives Belvile a ring with her portrait on it and a letter with instructions for how to meet her. She did not reveal herself while talking to him because she wanted to test his devotion to her by flirting under disguise, to see if he would react.

5. Despite her masked face, he finds her wit, humor and direct nature appealing and challenging.