Shakespeare As You Like It Analysis

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Love, its idealized and romantic facet is often portrayed and propagated through media and literature. However, William Shakespeare, in As You Like It, plays with the idea of love and explores its various aspects. Through the wise 'fool ' and the melancholy thinker, he attacks the very idea of love. Moreover, with an ironic twist, he challenges the common stereotype of idealized love as it was seen in the 16th Century and lastly, he deviates from the common idea of romantic love to toy with the idea of love, or lack thereof, within family bonds and self-love. Shakespeare therefore presents his audience with a unique twist on the idea of love, throwing varying interpretations at them to display its depth and complexity.
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He also challenges the idealized stereotype of 'love at first sight ' and its courtly expression. We see Celia question the possibility of falling "into so strong a liking" "on such a sudden" when Rosalind falls in love with Orlando after he overthrows Charles. A few minutes wrestling match is all it takes and Celia voices the audience 's thoughts about this. Ironically then, when Celia and Oliver fall in love at first sight too, Rosalind projects its stupidity and ridiculousness through the lines, they "no sooner met but they looked; no sooner looked but they loved.” Through the dramatically ironic lines of Celia and Rosalind respectively, Shakespeare shows us how illogical the phenomena of love at first sight is. Also, the courtly expression of love in the 16th Century required the gentleman to woo his lady through romantic expressions and gestures. Orlando, the elite gentleman does this through poetry. Yet Jacques, Celia, and Touchstone point out the technical faults in his poems and ridicule its content in Act 3, Scene 3. Silvius, a lowly shepherd on the other hand, rises to the occasion to thwart the stereotype that romantic gestures and expressions exist only within the elite class. His lines for and to Phebe glorify her and his love. "So holy and so perfect is my love...that I shall think it the most plenteous crop/ to glean the broken ears after a man/ That the main harvest reaps", explaining how he 'll even let Phebe love another man if she wishes so, if only she 'd so much as smile at him. Shakespeare therefore, through parallel relationships, all overthrowing stereotypes, depicts how love is experienced differently

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