As You Like It Study Guide

As You Like It Study Guide

Original title:
As You Like It

One of the pastoral comedies by William Shakespeare that continues the tradition of the jovial worlds of cross-dressing, love dodecahedrons and multiple marriages in the final. Despite we can imagine the classical plotline the traces of which we can see in the other comedies of the Bard, “As You Like It” is particularly enjoyable, because of the variety of independent characters presented in it.

The example of strong female friendship, so rare for the works of that time, is presented to us by Celia and Rosalind. The independent girls stand against the tyranny of Celia’s father and bravely flee from him to the forest of Arden. The love line is only secondary, that isn’t typical for the comedic plays by Shakespeare (even in similar “Twelfth Night” the play opens with Duke Orsino lamenting about his inability to court his beloved).

The next unusual trait that makes this play so interesting is the number of possible couples. Instead of usual alpha couple, beta couple and, maybe some comic relief characters getting together, here we see eight people who are in love with each other and desperately try to guess the sex and the feelings of each other. Though some of the characters still serve as comic relief (which is a must for almost any play of that time), like the jester accompanying the rebellious girls - still they have enough depth of personality to be seen not as plotline devices, but as full-fledged participants of the play with their own flaws and virtues, joys and sorrows. This trait positively distinguishes “As You Like It” from the most other comedic plays of that time.

Despite being so complicated, the play got various reviews from the critics of the times of Shakespeare. Some of them considered it the great piece of work, but lots of them claimed that the other works of the author had higher quality. Still, we are sure that even if we can roughly imagine the turns of the plot, the very wordplay and the variety of personalities of the characters makes this play incredibly enjoyable even in the modern times.

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