This article discusses gambling and inheritance as two types of property transfer presented on the long eighteenth-century stage and investigates the relationship each has with gender and social status. Comparing Aphra Behn’s The Lucky Chance (1685) with Susanna Centlivre’s The Basset Table (1705), I show the different attitudes exhibited toward gambling from the aristocratic male and female, and the middle-class female gambler. I argue that gambling provided individuals, and in particular married women, with a different relationship to property, enabling them to participate in the credit economy, manipulating their position as their husband’s property under coverture to transfer debt to their husband as an alternative form of inheritance.
- Aphra Behn
- Susanna Centlivre