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Shakespeare's As You Like It - Rosalind and Celia Essay

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As You Like It - Rosalind and Celia

 
     A search for feminist criticism on William Shakespeare's comedy, As You Like It, uncovers a range of different aspects of the play and its players, but none is as well represented as the nature and dynamics of the relationship between Rosalind and Celia. Among other topics are cross dressing or female transvestism and male self-fashioning, which extrapolates on the mode of dress being an identity. A feminist view on Shakespeare examines the poet's defense of virtue in the play. Quite a few articles focus on Rosalind alone. These varyingly discuss Rosalind in relation to gender issues, romantic power, eroticism, specific performances of actresses portraying Rosalind as well as one piece which questions Rosalind's very existence. But the most cohesive and edifying critical writings delve the depths of the relationship between Rosalind and Celia.

 

Most criticisms that include Celia, agree that Celia holds the power on the stage during Act I. In Clare Calvo's article she asks the question "Is it really Rosalind who moves the play" (95). She questions the long accepted opinion that Rosalind is the heroine not only in As You Like It, but is the epitome of all of Shakespeare's comic heroines (94). Calvo gives equal accolades to Celia and her important friendship with Rosalind and to Celia's initiative, decision and capacity for action"(95). She explores the diminishing of Celia in order to elevate Rosalind to mythical proportions in both feminist and non-feminist criticism (95). In Calvo's words, " the interest aroused by the figure of Rosalind has tended to eclipse the importance of other characters"(92).

 

Calvo concentrates on the friendship between Rosalind and Celia ...


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...hers of English Studies 56 (1991 Sept): 5 - 11.

Martin, Louis. "As She Liked It: Rosalind as Subject." Pennsylvania English 22,1 - 2 (2000 Fall-Spring):91 - 96.

Shakespeare, William. "As You Like It." The Norton Shakespeare Comedies. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al. New York: Norton, 1997. 594-651.

Shaw, Fiona, and Juliet Stevenson. "Celia and Rosalind in As You Like It." Jackson, Russell ed. intro., Robert Smallwood ed. Players of Shakespeare II: Further Essays in Shakespearean Performance. New York: Cambridge UP, 1988. 55 - 71.

Tvordi, Jessica. "Female Alliance and the Construction of Homoeroticism in As You Like It and Twelfth Night." Frye, Susan ed. and intro., Robertson, Karen ed. and intro., Howard, Jean E. after word; Maids and Mistresses, Cousins and Queens: Women's alliances in Early Modern England. New York: Oxford UP, 1999. 114 - 130.

 


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