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As You Like It: The presentation of the theme's of love

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As You Like It Coursework Examine the presentation of the theme of Love in 'As You Like It'. 'As You Like It' is written by William Shakespeare and is one of his most well known and successful plays. Love is a central theme and Shakespeare uses many different styles and writing techniques to present it via the characters in the play; form and structure also contribute greatly to the presentation of love. Love comes in a number of different forms. There is the romantic hero-heroine love between Rosalind and Orlando in which they fall in 'love at first sight', woo and then they are married, unrequited love with Silvius and Phoebe, Touchstone and Audrey's seductive love, family ties and love shared between Rosalind and Celia and Adam and Orlando. Rosalind and Orlando's relationship is not a typical hero-heroine love, Shakespeare adds to it with Rosalind's strong personality and with the humour brought on by the relationship between Orlando and Ganymede (Rosalind's Guise). The way that the two meet is traditional to a typical hero-heroine love, Rosalind is won over by Orlando's good looks and masculinity at the wrestling match with the Court's wrestler, Charles, they fall in love at 'first sight', which is shown for the most part through the language used- Sir, you have wrestled well and overthrown more than your enemies' 'what passion hangs these


This example of love is certainly a variation from the more idealised forms that are portrayed in the by the other couples, it is based more on lust than romance and passionate love. Celia and Oliver are the last couple to meet. Their love is rather improbable, not because they fall for each other at first sight, but as Shakespeare offers us very little to do with the pair, it just appears to be 'stuck' on the end as a way of marrying off all the main characters. However it does confirm Oliver's repentance and Celia gets a happy ending for herself after being such a loyal companion to Rosalind. It seems unlikely that Celia would fall for a villain, even a repented one, but 'As You Like It' is a comedy and she does and I think that their marriage is needed if not just for the humorous ending of the play were there is a mass wedding. As well as romantic and passionate loves, there are also family love relationships, such as those shared between Oliver and Orlando and Rosalind and Celia. Oliver and Orlando have been fighting each other emotionally all through the play and Shakespeare introduces us to this sibling rivalry right from the very first scene; Oliver: [Raising his hand] 'What, boy!'


In Conclusion, Shakespeare manages to successfully present many different forms of love by using language, structure and form and by combining humour, conventional and unconventional behaviour and serious matters. In the final scenes Shakespeare purposely does not tying up all loose ends, I think this helps to show just how complex a human emotion such as love is; it cannot be given a simple one sentence definition, it comes in many different forms as I have gone through in this essay and that love is so full of contradiction that it cant be fully resolved, for instance, Silvius and Phoebe now have a marriage based on friendship regardless of how infatuated he is by her, Touchstone and Audrey have a relationship based on lust, which is sure to burn out eventually is it not? And even Orlando and Rosalind have a marriage that is a result of much deception. Rosalind's epilogue is complex and unusual, but it ends the play well, we as an audience are left feeling that there maybe no such a notion as pure love. 'My way is to conjure you/to like as much of this play as you can' This line alone implies that love is down to our own view and interpretation of it, it allows you to see love 'as you like it', hence the title, and that such an intricate emotion is open to much interpretation. 2,300 words Emma Knock

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