By Margarete Rubik (auth.)

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Extra resources for Early Women Dramatists 1550–1800

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Unlike her forerunners, however, she wrote and published with the avowed hope of achieving lasting fame (Prologue of Playes), an ambition which echoes Aphra Behn's wistful wish for immortality. This flouted the canons of respectability of her sex and even more the decorum of her class, which regarded publication as the reward of fame, not as a means of achieving it. 14 In fact, she was more ambitious than talented as a dramatist, but by dint of her feminist outspokenness she has lately received a lot of attention from modern scholars.

The hero, in the meantime, has turned profligate out of grief, refuses to give his siblings the heritage Aphra Behn 41 he owes them, and with the foppish Sir Timothy visits a brothel, where he meets the latter's mistress, Betty Flauntit, a wonderfully comic and lively figure. Sir Timothy is tricked into marrying Bellmour's sister, who has been left destitute without her portion. Bellmour gains everybody's forgiveness because of his undying love for his first wife, and Diana begs her uncle to procure a divorce.

For characters like the archrake Horner in Wycherley's The Country Wife, female lust is merely a convenient means to gain this end, and he is not really interested in the women themselves, or even in the sexual satisfaction they can afford him, but in the secret pleasure of humiliating and fooling other men. Like many later women playwrights, Behn counterpoints the male community with a female one, in which friendships, mutual help as well as rivalries are as common as in the men's world. Characteristically, Behn devotes more space than most of her male rivals to the women characters, allowing them not only more say but also an important influence on the action.

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