Phillander, the dauphin of France, is in love with Erminia. She loves him in return. However, Alcippus, the newly appointed general, formally requests to marry her, and is granted permission. So begins one of the many love triangles and conflicts in Aphra Behn’s The Forc’d Marriage. In a world in which women have very little control over their fates, the ladies of the court--Erminia, Gallatea (the princess), and Aminta--do their best to protect their hearts and stay loyal to their true loves. But Erminia’s sense of duty to Phillander conflicts with her obligation to Alcippus, with nearly tragic consequences. Rounding out the French court is a colorful and romantic cast of lords and ladies, pursuing and wooing, culminating in a grand masque that celebrates love. First performed by the Duke of York’s Company at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, The Forc’d Marriage is a prime example of early Restoration tragicomedy, where the guilty are forgiven and true love wins out.
The Forc’d Marriage; or, the Jealous Bridegroom guide sections