|Abstract||The plays of Mrs. Aphra Behn, written in a variety of genres and staged over a twenty-five year period, are reasonably representative of Restoration drama. Like most of her contemporaries, Mrs. Behn relies on earlier English or foreign writers for much material, and the nature and extent of her borrowings provide evidence of the direct literary influences at work during the era. An analysis of her plays and their sources indicates that in only five instances is she primarily original; in the remaining fifteen cases she is indebted to other plays, mainly Jacobean. Although she usually rewrites the dialogue, her changes are not extensive. On the other hand, when she does borrow from foreign dramas, she tends to alter the originals almost beyond recognition, modifying and adding characters, increasing the complexity of plots, changing the very tenor of the work, but always in a manner to adapt it to English traditions and current English theatrical taste. The possible influence of dramas which Mrs. Behn may have witnessed instead of read is more difficult to determine. Records indicate that three comedies by Jonson, two tragicomedies and two comedies by Beaumont and Fletcher, one tragicomedy by Massinger, and one comedy by Shirley were extremely popular during the opening years of the Restoration. It seems a safe assumption that a beginning dramatist might have attended their performances and sought to emulate their style and technique. A comparison of the treatment of setting, characters, and plot, as well as the dominant temper, of these nine earlier plays with four of Mrs. Behn's most original works discloses marked similarities. Like her predecessors, she makes but slight use of setting, indicating it more by reference than actually depicting or describing her locale. Her important characters, gallant heroes and witty heroines are patterned after those of Beaumont and Fletcher. She does, however, introduce Jonsonian humours types--fops and other would-be wits and hypocritical religionists--but relegates them to roles of secondary importance. Mrs. Behn is probably best known for intrigue comedies, and her complex plots embrace many of the stock situations found in all of the earlier English comedies. The mood, or temper, of her plays--like that of Beaumont, Fletcher, and Shirley--tends to be gay and sophisticated. She makes no attempt to appeal to the growing, serious-minded middle class and writes to amuse rather than instruct. But in spite of her concentration on amorous affairs, she cannot be considered obscene; and in her steady opposition to the prevailing custom of forced marriage, she is as much a moralist as Jonson. Her approach is not as vehement as his, but most of her plays do have a serious moral basis and there is no denying her didactic intent. Directly, or indirectly, her work reflects a continuing English dramatic tradition.