Saturday 28 January 2012

As You Like It - William Shakespeare

Rosalind's father was once Duke but has now been overthrown and exiled by his brother. The only thing that is saving Rosalind from the same fate is the love of the new Dukes daughter, Celia. Orlando is at odds with his older brother, Oliver, who is holding him back in life. Orlando and Rosalind meet at a wrestling match where they both instantly fall in love. However, Orlando is exiled by his brother and joins the old Duke in the forest. The new Duke has a fit of jealousy and exile Rosalind. Celia doesn't want to be without Rosalind and so joins her as does the clown, Touchstone. They all go in disguise so as not to be attacked. Rosalind is now Ganymede and Celia is Aliena, a brother and sister who now live in a shepherd hut. There Rosalind finds poems dedicated to her by Orlando. She decides to keep her disguise in order to test his love for her.

This is the second comedy I have read. Like "Much Ado About Nothing" this was very easy to read and follow. I didn't have to look at the back very much at all. It seems the less tragic the story the less difficult the language. There were also fewer characters which made it easier to follow. No flicking to the front to remind myself who is who. It was also similar in that the primary theme is love and no one dies in the end. In fact everything miraculously rights itself.

Like I said the main theme is love and this is where the comedy sets in. In her disguise as Ganymede she tells Orlando that she will cure him of love. In order to do that Orlando must pretend that he is Rosalind. Which of course doesn't work. Meanwhile a young shepherd, Silvius, is pining over the shepherdess, Phebe. However, Phebe has fallen in love with Rosalind's disguise and poor Rosalind has a hard time convincing Phebe that she should appreciate what she has in Silvius. It isn't until the end scene when Rosalind reveals who she is that Phebe is happy and all couples (of which there are two others) get married.

Having written it like that it sounds confusing but it's not at all. It was actually rather amusing and my favourite scene wasn't actually the end one but the scene where Rosalind tries to convince Phebe that she should accept Silvius.

The Shakespeare challenge is continuing until 10th February. Allie from A Literary Odyssey decided to extend it a little. I could probably fit in a few more plays but I have several other books I want to read and my reading has slowed down noticeably this week (as I expected it would). So this is my last play for this challenge. I am however going to read a biography which will also be for another challenge. I'm not giving up on Shakespeare though. I will read more eventually as there are so many others I would like to try. So if there is another Shakespeare month challenge I will be signing up. Or I will maybe make every January Shakespeare month for myself. If you want to see what others have been reading you can do so here.


  1. Glad you enjoyed it. Probably my favorite for this month. If there was anything I didn't like about this play was how everything between Phebe and Silvius was suddenly fine after Rosalinds grand reveal. Things came together too quickly although i did like the end result...

    1. I know what you mean. It was like Phebe had very quickly decided to settle and Silvius was okay with that.