Date of Graduation
Master of Arts in English
Aphra Behn, Puritanism, restoration theatre, Protestantism, Christianity, wits, Libertines, Royalist, patriarchy
English Language and Literature
This project consists of five stand-alone essays explicating religious themes within the following of Aphra Behn's plays: The Lucky Chance, The Feigned Courtesans, The Rover, The Emperor of the Moon, and The Widdow Ranter; Or The History of Bacon in Virginia. Since the feminist recovery of her works in the late twentieth century, Behn has become a popular subject of inquiry among gender critics who celebrate her for her sensationalized, and possibly fictionalized, biography and her protofeminist themes. Because of these—her biography and her protofeminism—critics have tended to divorce her work from the historical religious context in which it was written. Indeed, Puritanical religious views do seem incongruent with Behn's scandalous biography and apparent gender ideology. The project successfully views these five plays through a more complete historical context of the religious culture of seventeenth-century England, thus demonstrating that Behn was far less an anomaly and far more a product of her time and place than commonly believed.
© Magi Ida Smith
Smith, Magi Ida, "Piety and Puritanism in the Plays of the Poetess-Punk Aphra Behn" (2011). MSU Graduate Theses. 1116.