Gender Roles In Shakespeare's As You Like It

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I. Introduction
Gender roles have always changed over the years. During the Elizabethan Age, the idea that women were superior to men and that men were not ruled by emotion was popular. Three major characters of William Shakespeare’s play As You Like It blur the lines between these roles: Rosalind, who later disguises herself as the man Ganymede, melancholic Jaques, and comic Touchstone show this change in As You Like It perfectly. All the characters have their obvious character traits that fit into the well-known scheme of male and female gender roles. Nevertheless, they show a deconstruction of social norm and gender roles. All three characters go through a character development during the play in which they reveal that every single one of them also has another side which is not directly visible when watching the play. Especially the characters of Touchstone and Jaques, who appear to be very contradictory, develop another facet that is exactly the opposite of
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Her role is in total contrast to the role of women in Elizabethan England. Women, so the social norm, belonged to the husband and therefore worked “behind the doors”; their business was domestic. The public image of women and men was that men were in the public and women in the private part of life . Also, the roles of women in Shakespearian plays are usually no exact portrayal to the role of women in Elizabethan England. In the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century, all female roles on stage were played by men. Women used to be part of the staff behind the scenes in the theatre but they were not seen on stage . This means that the role of Rosalind was played by a man, too, and this makes her role even more important and significant to the play. The female roles were played by well-trained boys. This may also be a reason for the small number of female roles in the plays from these
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