As You Like It a Romantic Comedy

1658 Words Jun 18th, 2011 7 Pages
The major conventions of Shakespearean Romantic Comedy are:

The main action is about love.
The would-be lovers must overcome obstacles and misunderstandings before being united in harmonious union. The ending frequently involves a parade of couples to the altar and a festive mood or actual celebration (expressed in dance, song, feast, etc.) A Midsummer Night's Dream has four such couples (not counting Pyramus and Thisbe!); As You Like It has four; Twelfth Night has three; etc.
Frequently (but not always), it contains elements of the improbable, the fantastic, the supernatural, or the miraculous, e.g. unbelievable coincidences, improbable scenes of recognition/lack of recognition, willful disregard of the social order (nobles marrying
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Shakespeare's early romantic comedy most indebted to John Lyly is Love's Labour's Lost (c. 1588–97), a confection set in the never-never land of Navarre where the King and his companions are visited by the Princess of France and her ladies-in-waiting on a diplomatic mission that soon devolves into a game of courtship. As is often the case in Shakespearean romantic comedy, the young women are sure of who they are and whom they intend to marry; one cannot be certain that they ever really fall in love, since they begin by knowing what they want. The young men, conversely, fall all over themselves in their comically futile attempts to eschew romantic love in favour of more serious pursuits. They perjure themselves, are shamed and put down, and are finally forgiven their follies by the women. Shakespeare brilliantly portrays male discomfiture and female self-assurance as he explores the treacherous but desirable world of sexual attraction, while the verbal gymnastics of the play emphasize the wonder and the delicious foolishness of falling in love.

In The Taming of the Shrew (c. 1590–94), Shakespeare employs a device of multiple plotting that is to become a standard feature of his romantic comedies. In one plot, derived from Ludovico Ariosto's I suppositi (Supposes, as it had been translated into English by George
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