Love in Shakespeares 'As You Like It' - Book Report/Review Example

Love as a universal feeling and expression has always been a part of Shakespeare’s plays, be it tragedy or comedy. This love is not limited to the conventional boy-girl relationship but it transcends barriers, man-made or natural…
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Love in Shakespeares As You Like It
Download file to see previous pages Through centuries, critics declare that William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is “not only the greatest playwright but the greatest writer in history, not only in the English-speaking world but internationally” (Hurt: 1055). For instance, the famous play, Romeo and Juliet, shows love as forceful; and as a cause of violence and even death, among others (
Hamlet and Othello are the other plays that are considered Shakespeare’s sublime tragedies that develop on the different types of love and related themes, such as love for the opposite sex, love to parents and siblings, marital infidelity, jealousy, etc.
The success of William Shakespeare’s plays lies greatly on his mastery of the Elizabethan language and his skill in beautifully orchestrating his lines to develop his sonnets and plays. The dialogue and actions are made more dramatic through his exceptional use of words and expressions.
In the play, As You Like It, love is seen in various ways by the different characters, especially Rosalind, who is the most vocal about love among the characters. Rosalind stands out and declares love to be different and more complex yet delightful contrary to the common and accepted notion about love.
This play, especially the theme of pragmatic love, goes against the usual notion of love that is depicted in the literature of Elizabethan milieu. The conventional picture of love as long-suffering, martyr-type, deadly and forceful - all inclined to the negative consequences of love - were reflected in other literary works of that time except Shakespeare's. Being a comedy, the play As You Like It, can freely express its pragmatic view of love and pass the audience's literary taste. It can justify its existence because it is rendered in the comedy type. In this way, love is shown to have positive consequences, such as the freedom of the female characters to pursue and initiate love (Rosalind and Celia) and being deceived in marrying somebody one does not like (Phoebe).
In Act Iv scene i, the four characters, Jacques, Celia, Rosalind and Orlando, differ in their views about love. The two men and Celia are more ideal and conventional while Rosalind is pragmatic and unconventional.
Throughout the play, the conventional view of love has also been altered like that of Silvius, the simple shepherd, who assumes the role of the tortured lover, asking his beloved Phoebe to notice "the wounds invisible / That love's keen arrows make" (III.v.31-32). This young, suffering shepherd, desperately in love with the mocking Phoebe conforms to the model of Petrarchan love, Silvius even prostrates himself before a woman who refuses to return his affections. However, he wins the object of his desire, all because Rosalind comes into view with her pragmatic advice and scheme.
The other love relationship is also seen in the persons of Audrey, a simpleminded goatherd who chooses to marry Touchstone, a clown in Duke Frederick's court who seems hopelessly vulgar and narrow-minded, over William, a young country boy who is in love with Audrey. The choice of not marrying her own kind is another pragmatic representation of love.
This paper primarily focuses on the positive and unconventional views about love as reflected in the play. To name a few, these are: Love Flows Naturally and is Something to Be Desired, Love is Therapeutic, Disguise Can Be Positively Used to Encourage the Growth of Love, Loving a Person of the Same Sex is a Natural Occurrence in Human Life, Marriage is the Culmination of Love, and Pastoral Scenery Creates an Atmosphere Conducive to Love.
Act IV, scene i of As You Like It showcases the aforementioned views on love. ...Download file to see next pagesRead more
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