Essay on The Character of Rosalind in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It

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The Character of Rosalind in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It  

The title of William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy As You Like It, is indicative of the maladjusted perceptions of the characters in the play. Each character in one way or another holds true to off-base viewpoints regarding relationships concerned with love that stir up conflict and strife amongst the characters. This disharmony that plagues the play is only ultimately resolved through the initiative of the character Rosalind. Rosalind is the only balanced character in the play in regards to the fact that she isn’t blinded by the emotions of lust and hate which are the main operatives in obscuring the other characters’ perceptions. Rosalind’s actions, coupled with the imposed predicament of her banishment, directly and indirectly bring about the balancing of the other characters previously jostled perceptions.

The main concern and ordeal that Rosalind deals with in the play is her genuine love for Orlando and her consequential fear that he is just a love-diseased youth who is in a state of mere infatuation with her. In their first encounter, Orlando is unable to even speak to Rosalind due to his acute feelings of desire and awkwardness: "What passion hangs these weights upon my tongue? I cannot speak to her, yet she urged conference. O poor Orlando, though art overthrown"(I.II.249-251). Rosalind is likewise enamored with Orlando but is cautious due to the fact that she barely knows him. This sentiment is illuminated by her cousin Celia: "Is it possible, on such a sudden, you should fall into so strong a liking with old Sir Rowland’s youngest son"(I.III.26-28). It is here where Rosalind’s main predicament of the play is born. She is even-keeled enough t...

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...d in the first place? One can only infer that the common feelings amongst those of the 16th century, much like they are in this present day, looked down upon the fracturing of family bonds and unrequited love. The sense of balance that resounds in As You Like It corrects such unattractive anomalies and gives the audience a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling inside that there is some good in the world and things will work out for the better.

Work Cited

Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Interpretations : William Shakespeare's As You Like It. New York : Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.

Harris, Laurie Lamzen, ed. Shakespearean Criticism : Volume 5. Detroit : Gale Research Company Book Tower, 1994.

Shakespeare, William. As You Like It, in The Complete Works of Shakespeare, ed. David Bevington, 4th ed. New York: Longman, Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, 1997.

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