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As You Like It Essay

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English

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Essay

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A Warped View
As You Like it, beyond being a highly entertaining comedy, makes some significant
statements about both society and life. However, one of the most important of these implications
is that made about gender in society. In As You Like It, William Shakespeare is effective in
convincing audiences of all ages that it is not acceptable to view the world as entirely male-
dominated through the use of the interactions between male and female characters, the portrayal
of Orlando, and the subtle comparison of Rosalind to Queen Elizabeth.
Some of the most comedic scenes in As You Like It are the interactions between Orlando
and Ganymede, the latter of which is actually Rosalind. However, beyond the amusing elements,
these scenes also contribute to the underlying theme of the play. When Orlando first speaks to
Ganymede, the supposed young male claims that he knows that women possess many more
flaws than men. Orlando then demands to know the “principal evils” that Ganymede attributes to
women (As You Like It 3.2 lines 330-335). This is significant because Orlando does not
immediately agree, but rather demands evidence before he makes a judgment on the whole sex.
He serves as an example of a man who does not view men as wholly superior to women.
Orlando is also a key character in another way. Constantly throughout the play he acts,
weak-willed, emotional, and gullible, many of the attributes that one might assume a woman to
have during this time period. One one occasion, he even admits to having his heart wounded
“with the eyes of a lady,” a confession that paints him as an emotional man (5.2 line 24). This
portrayal of Orlando as having the same undesirable or “unmanly” traits as women serves to
further Shakespeare’s point that one cannot view the world as entirely male-dominated. Because
Orlando acts submissive and “feminine,” the typical view of a typical heterosexual relationship is
reversed, showing that it is entirely possible for the woman to take on the dominant role.

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At this time there was one particular woman who took a very dominant role in history,
Queen Elizabeth. Shakespeare compares his character Rosalind to the Queen through her actions
and attitude. Rosalind takes on the appearance of Ganymede to become more dominant for her
plans to work (1.3 lines 158-169). This is very similar to Queen Elizabeth, who was forced to
take on a stoic and headstrong attitude to secure power over England. By subtly harkening back
to the monarch, Shakespeare very clearly shows that the world is not entirely male-dominated
because the world could not possibly be that way with a Queen heading the entire country.
As You Like It is an excellent play combining both comedic and dramatic elements to
appeal to all audiences. Within it, Shakespeare shows that the world, even at that point in time,
could not possibly be viewed as male-dominated. This implication is shown through the
interactions between characters of the two sexes, the portrayal or Orlando, and the ways Rosalind
is subtly compared to the Queen.

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Works Cited
Shakespeare, William. As You Like It. Web.

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A Warped ViewAs You Like it, beyond being a highly entertaining comedy, makes some significant statements about both society and life. However, one of the most important of these implications is that made about gender in society. In As You Like It, William Shakespeare is effective in convincing audiences of all ages that it is not acceptable to view the world as entirely male-dominated through the use of the interactions between male and female characters, the portrayal of Orlando, and the subtle comparison of Rosalind to Queen Elizabeth.Some of the most comedic scenes in As You Like It are the interactions between Orlando and Ganymede, the latter of which is actually Rosalind. However, beyond the amusing elements, these scenes also contribute to the underlying theme of the play. When Orlando first speaks to Ganymede, the supposed young male claims that he knows that women possess man ...
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