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Relationships in Shakespeare's As You Like It Essay

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Relationships in As You Like It

 
   "Pronounce that sentence on me, my liege. I cannot live out of her company"(Shakespeare quoted in Norton Anthology 1611). Who made these remarks about the dear Rosalind, was it Celia, the one whom she calls 'coz', or is Orlando the man that she is in love with? The question then becomes if Celia said these words what was her meaning. Is it that Celia is attracted to Rosalind as more than a friend or is this just an example of the female friendships of the time? This is a look at the different dynamics of relationships during the Renaissance. Those relationships of female friends, male bonding and homoeroticism in "As You Like It".

 

During the Renaissance the friendship between females was very important. At this time in history there came a time when a woman was no longer considered attractive to a man. When she reaches this point the friendship that she forms between herself and another female takes the place of a marriage. "The female friendship seems to appear in a specifically social form of female chastity which revises the characteristic masculinity of friendship rhetoric in the period" (Shannon 658). An example of the friendship that exists between Celia and Rosalind in "As You Like It" can be found in Act 3 scene 4 lines 1-5:

 

Rosalind: Never talk to me. I will weep."

Celia: Do, I prithee, but yet have the grace to consider that tears do not become a man

Rosalind: But have I not cause to weep?

Celia: As good cause as one would desire; therefore weep

(Shakespeare quoted in the Norton Anthology 1634)

 

In this conversation Celia takes on the masculine role even though it is Rosalind that is dressed as a man. Celia is very strong at a point...


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...ts are still present. It is a difficult situation to state if a relationship is truly erotic or if it is only the views that our modern society is placing on it. A society in which sex sells and it doesn't matter who the relationship is between.

 

Works Cited

Sedgwick, Eve. Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire. New York. Columbia Univ. Press1985

Shannon, Laurie. Emilia's Argument: Friendship and 'Human Title' in The Two Noble Kinsmen. ELH 64.3 (1997) 657-682

Strout, Nathanial. As You Like It, Rosalynde, and Mutuality. SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 41.2 (2001) 277-295

Traub, Valerie. The Renaissance of Lesbianism in Early Modern England. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 7.2 (2001) 245-263

Walen, Denise. Constructions of Female Homoerotics in Early Modern Drama. Theatre Journal 54.3 (2002) 411-430


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