The Roundheads: A Comedy

he Roundheads; or, The Good Old Cause, Behn’s first attempt to fuse comedy and politics, displays her Tory sympathies by portraying Whig politicians as purely comic figures. Behn’s second attempt at political satire, The City Heiress; or, Sir Timothy Treat-all, was wellreceived by audiences, and critics regard it as one of her best comedies. The City Heiress utilizes several sets of lovers to convey Behn’s unconventional view of marriage, love, and sexual freedom, but in this work her political satire is more artfully integrated into the framework of the drama. Written during the last phase of Behn’s literary career, Oroonoko is her most acclaimed work, and in the past three centuries it has received a significant amount of commentary much of which is concerned with the work’s influence on the development of the novel. According to Behn, the story of the Coramantien prince Oroonoko and his beautiful West Indian lover Imoinda is based on her own “true,” “eyewitness” accounts of events in Surinam. The first-person narrative gives verisimilitude to the novel, as does the vividly described local color, with the theme of the innate goodness of the “noble savage” skillfully juxtaposed against the barbarity of “civilized” English intruders.


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