As You Like It, One Of William Shakespeare’S Most Popular

1280 WordsMay 3, 20176 Pages
As You Like It, one of William Shakespeare’s most popular comedies is a pastoral (of sorts) tale that speaks of love, loss, simple life, the life of the city and/or court, and of course, freedom. Shakespeare calls into question what is appropriate in the society of the time by colorful, fleshed-out characters both in the court—a proper place in England where noblemen and women were expected to look and behave in a certain manner. The consequences for violating the social codes of the time could be deadly. Who you were, how you presented yourself mattered—it was what differentiated the unworthy from the worthy, the poor from the wealthy, etc. One of the powerful narratives that As You Like It reveals are from women that actively rebel…show more content…
Rosalind’s choice of name for her male disguise is extremely significant, as Ganymede was a beautiful young man in ancient Greek mythology whom Zeus desired and so took to be his cup-bearer - introduce Knowles (Knowles 64). This is foreshadowing of Rosalind’s being “universally attractive, to women as to men.” (Bloom 148) It is certainly no coincidence that, in breaking the gender boundaries by dressing as a man, she further broke them by giving her male alter ego the name of a well-known homosexual. When one considers the actual mechanics of the play, it becomes even more intriguing: a male actor playing a female who is playing a male who is named after a homosexual. The next homoerotic situation is obviously the Rosalind/Ganymede-Orlando relationship. Orlando was suspiciously willing to accept Ganymede as a substitute for his Rosalind. Was he attracted to Ganymede in a homosexual way, or did Ganymede simply remind him of Rosalind? Or did he maybe even recognize Rosalind behind her disguise? During a conversation between the two, many words of feminine import are exchanged. Orlando calls Ganymede a “pretty youth.” Rosalind says she dwells “in the skirts of the forest, like fringe upon a petticoat,” and says that she is as native to the forest “as the cony that you see dwell where she is kindled,” with “cony” being a term of endearment for females (Bloom 65-6). Is
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