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Essay on Gender and Politics in Shakespeare's As You Like It

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Gender and Politics in As You Like It

 
     William Shakespeare and the new millennium seem to be diametrically opposed, yet his works are having a renaissance of their own after 400 years in the public domain. Why have some major film producers revisited his works when their language and staging would seem to be hopelessly outdated in our society?Perhaps because unlike modern writers, who struggle with political correctness, Shakespeare speaks his mind with an uncompromising directness that has kept its relevance in this otherwise jaded world.

 

Gender issues and social commentary are especially relevant in published criticism of Shakespeare's As You Like It since the beginning of the 1990's, as evidenced by the number of articles published in scholarly journals during the past twelve years.   Janet Gupton's review in Theatre Journal, published in 2001as well as Louise Schleiner's article in the Shakespeare Quarterly in the fall of 1999, both deal with the treatment of gender-subjectivity.

 

While most scholars deal with the confused sexuality of Rosalind living in the forest, they do not discuss the possibility that if Shakespeare himself was bisexual he would naturally be more conscious of the conflicted feelings of his own psyche, and want to explore the taboos of gender issues on the stage.

 

Celia and Rosalind are portrayed as having an unusually close relationship in Act 1 Scene 1 of As You Like It.Even before they make an appearance, Oliver and Charles are discussing whether Rosalind has been banished like her father, in terms that indicate a strange relationship.

 

Oh, no; for the Duke's daughter her cousin so loves her, being

ever from their cradles bred together...and no less ...


... middle of paper ...


...e 4, 2001.

Leach, Robert.As You Like It-A "Robin Hood" Play.English Studies: A Journal of English Language and Literature 82, no. 5 Oct. 2001. p 393-400.

Marshall, Cynthia. The Doubled Jacques and Constructions of Negation in As You Like It.Shakespeare Quarterly 49, no. 4 (1998 Winter): p 375-92.

Ronk, Martha Clare, Locating the Visual in As You Like It.Shakespeare Quarterly 52, Issue 2, 2001.

Schleiner, Louise.Voice, Ideology, and Gendered Subjects: The Case of As You Like It and Two Gentlemen.Shakespeare Quarterly 50, no.3 (1999 Fall) p. 285-309.

Stirm, Jan.For Solace a Twinne-Like Sister: Teaching Themes of Sisterhood in As You Like It and Beyond.Shakespeare Quarterly 47, no. 4 (1996 Winter) p. 374-86.

Wilson, Richard.Like the Old Robin Hood: As You Like It and the Enclosure Riots.Shakespeare Quarterly 43, no. 1 (1992 Spring): p. 1-19.

 


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