Aphra Behn: The Forc'd Marriage

(1878 words)

The Forc'd Marriage; or the Jealous Bridegroom, was the first play by Aphra Behn (1640?-1689), thought to be the earliest female professional writer. She had to earn her living by her pen and went on to write some fifteen or sixteen other plays, more than any other Restoration dramatist except John Dryden. She also wrote verse, novellas, one full length novel, Oroonoko, and translated various works into English from French.

This first play is more important than most first plays as it demonstrates her technical competence as a dramatist working at a unique time in theatrical history, when the public theatres had changed from pre-Commonwealth platform staging with no scenery and no front curtain to theatres …

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Lewcock, Dawn. "The Forc'd Marriage". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 October 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=827, accessed 08 October 2015.]