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Shakespeare's Use of the Idea of Disguise in "As You Like It"

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Shakespeare uses the idea of disguise in many of his plays. It is used as an escape from the characters’ personalities and sometimes for comic effect. In As You Like it, the disguise becomes very comical as in the time it was written only men could act on stage. This could lead to much confusion and comedy in the roles of those in disguise. Disguise can give the freedom to a character to act how they like and a chance for them to show their views. It was in the 16th Century that there became an increased sense of self consciousness and identity. This led to people creating an image for themselves. If one can create a self, they can create many different versions of themselves each showing a different aspect of that person. This links in…show more content…
As she is disguised as Ganymede, this is possible. She would not have been able to do this as a woman. When she is disguised as a man, more people listen to Ganymede. Although it is the same person, she can have much more say about her views and opinions when she is disguised as Ganymede. However, simply because her personality is not accepted as a woman, it does not mean that she is not presenting it. By showing that she enjoys watching the wrestling, she is revealing her true personality. She does not have to be disguised as a boy to do this. The disguise may show other aspects of the character’s personality but it is still shown through their everyday person.

Another point to make on this matter would be that the character of Rosalind would have been played by a male and the audience would know this. This could mean that the reason Shakespeare included Rosalind’s enjoyment of manly sports was because Rosalind is actually a man in the attire of a woman. There is a large confusion of the gender of Rosalind throughout the play. By confusing the gender, Shakespeare is focusing more on the personality of Rosalind than her appearance. The question of gender is continued at the very end of the play. In many of his plays, Shakespeare ends with an epilogue read by a male character. In As You Like it, the epilogue is performed by Rosalind. The epilogue seems to be outside the play as if the actor was talking but Rosalind is still in character. She says herself; ‘It is
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