Preview
Preview

Gender and Coming of Age in Shakespeare’s As You Like It Essay

:: 1 Works Cited
Length: 1841 words (5.3 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Gender and Coming of Age in Shakespeare’s As You Like It


Shakespeare introduces the protagonists of his comedy, As You Like It, as youths mourning the absence of their fathers: Orlando remarks on the consequences of his father’s death and Rosalind first appears despairing over her father’s exile. He closes the play with the marriage of these youths. The absence of their respective fathers centrally figures into their courtship and preparation for marriage. Even more noticeable is the absence of all mothers—not a single mother or older wife appears in the play. The young women, Rosalind and Celia, enter adulthood, seemingly without any female role models. Such responses impact the development of the young protagonists, causing the two friends, Rosalind and Celia, to be remarkably independent of gender conventions and the constraints of older generations. The absence of elder influences allows Rosalind and Celia to shape their adult lives, particularly as they forge their own unique approaches towards marriage and realizations of the institution.

In the absence of natural fathers, different characters volunteer as surrogate fathers for Orlando, but not for Rosalind. Without soliciting it, Orlando receives help and guidance from Duke Senior and Adam. For example, the ravenous Orlando interrupts Duke Senior’s banquet and orders them to stop eating, demanding food for Adam and himself. Duke Senior asks him why he so rudely demands food and then advises Orlando that “gentleness shall force / More than your force move us to gentleness” (2.7.101-102).* Warmly inviting the embarrassed Orlando to his table, the Duke offers him his friendship as he takes Orlando aside to speak privately. Orlando receives such unsolicited help from ...


... middle of paper ...


...ns emotional maturity. Orlando finally achieves social adulthood and Rosalind achieves personal maturity. While the Shakespearean era certainly structured gender roles quite differently from our own, many women today find themselves, like Rosalind and Celia, in a forest of men without female role models. Though decrying the lack of female role models has become trendy, it is important to remember that the leadership of the older generation comes with its own constraints. As each generation forges its own identity, perhaps it is the very absence of such role models and the freedom to wear a man’s hat or a beggar’s cloak that allow the most independent expressions of adulthood to emerge.


Work Cited

*Shakespeare, As You Like It, in The Complete Works of Shakespeare, ed. David Bevington, 4th ed. (New York: Longman, Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, 1997).


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on Gender in Macbeth - Have you ever considered what gender actually means. Most people think gender is if you are a man or woman. Gender describes if you are a man or a woman but it also entails your identity. Everyone has two sides to him or her, a masculine side and a feminine side. Men are mostly masculine and women are mostly feminine. Masculinity means you are strong, meaning that you do not whine or act foolishly. Men are mostly athletic and energized. Being feminine means that you are scared sometimes. You are afraid to do things....   [tags: Shakespeare]
:: 3 Works Cited
1275 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Second Coming a Poem by W.B. Yeats Essay - 'Thing fall apart the centre cannot hold' is a line in W.B Yeats poem 'The Second Coming' because of its stunning, violent imagery and terrifying ritualistic language, "The Second Coming" is one of Yeats's most famous poems, its set in a world on the threshold of apocalypse must like the three texts. The texts 'Henry IV Part 2' by William Shakespeare, 'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood and the poem 'The Waste Land' by T.S Eliot deals with the topic of disintegration of and within civilisation....   [tags: The Waste Land' by T.S Eliot, sex, love]
:: 14 Works Cited
1871 words
(5.3 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Gender-Swapping in The Tempest: Female Empowerment Essay - Director Julie Taymor's 2010 re-imagining of Shakespeare's fantastical play, The Tempest, introduces a few major changes to its source material. The most noticeable one is her choice to gender-swap the protagonist, Prospero, a male, into Prospera, a female (played by Helen Mirren). In this essay, I will explore how a sex change, and its effects on all the relationships Prospero has - with his daughter, Miranda, his servants, Ariel and Caliban, and his brother, Antonio - disturb The Tempest’s original social commentary on politics and race....   [tags: Julie Taymor's version of Shakespeare play] 1693 words
(4.8 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Macbeth: Gender Sterotypes Essay - Section One Biographical Sketch “William Shakespeare, the third of eight children and the first boy, was born in 1564 and baptized on 26 April in Holy Trinity Church” (Alexander 12). He was born and raised in the countryside known as Stratford, England and it is also where he was later buried when he died (Cousins 18). Catherine M.S Alexander states, “his birthday is traditionally set three days earlier, assuming the usual delay between birth and baptism. “Conveniently, 23 April is also, St....   [tags: William Shakespeare, Social Influence]
:: 5 Works Cited
2457 words
(7 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
Disguise in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure and Twelfth Night Essays - Disguise in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure and Twelfth Night        Disguise is a device Shakespeare employs frequently in both Measure for Measure and Twelfth Night. It allows a disguised character like the Duke of Vienna to glean information that would otherwise go unknown, and a character like Viola to take advantage of potentially beneficial situations. It gives these characters access to worlds that might otherwise be denied; for the Duke, he can now "haunt assemblies / Where youth and cost a witless bravery keeps" (1.4.9-10)....   [tags: Measure Twelfth Night Essays Shakespeare]
:: 3 Works Cited
1221 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Gender and Sex as a Theme when Depicting Women in Shakespeare's Poems Essay - Gender and Sex as a Theme when Depicting Women in Shakespeare's Poems When we talk about sex we can mean one of two things. One is being physical with someone else and two to say whether a person is a man or a woman. People contain physical characteristics which distinguishes them from either being man or women. The sex of someone is what a person is and the gender of a person is how he or she present and express themselves. They can act more feminine or more masculine. Typically the women are more feminine and the males are more masculine....   [tags: Papers] 585 words
(1.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Gender in Shakespeare's As You Like It - Questions of Gender in Shakespeare's As You Like It        Throughout history, men and women have been assigned specific roles to which society prescribes standards and qualifications. There are certain tasks that have been traditionally completed only by men, and others that have been assigned to women; most of which are separated by the realm of the domestic sphere. During the period of the Renaissance, men and women were assigned very different roles within society. The value, social expectations, legal status, and rights of citizenship differed greatly between the sexes as well as among the classes....   [tags: Shakespeare As You Like It Essays]
:: 7 Works Cited
1940 words
(5.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Gender Roles in Macbeth Essay - Gender Roles in Macbeth         Although written long ago, Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth still has themes relevant for contemporary society.  Murderous ambition, political intrigue, crafty social alliances, the disintegration of marriage – these could be headlines from any daily news program.  It comes as no surprise, then, that we also find a significant number of moments in the play where gender seems to be an issue. More specifically, we might say that Shakespeare's dramatic investigation into proper uses of power consists, in part, of a rigorous critique of the disparities between the respective roles assigned to men and women....   [tags: GCSE Coursework Macbeth Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1456 words
(4.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Gender and Politics in Shakespeare's As You Like It - 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....   [tags: Shakespeare As You Like It Essays]
:: 8 Works Cited
1815 words
(5.2 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
Gender and Social Norms in Shakespeare's As You Like It Essay - Gender and Social Norms in As You Like It        Shakespeare based his comedy As You Like It primarily on three other works.  Its plot follows the basic structure of Rosalynde, published in 1590 by Thomas Lodge.  The Tale of Gamelyn, written by an unknown author in the mid-fourteenth century, is a violent Middle English narrative that was found among Chaucer's papers and provides further details for Shakespeare's work.  With the Forest of Ardenne serving as an escape for our main characters, Shakespeare takes his details from the countless Robin Hood ballads popular in Medieval England.  This paper will examine how Shakespeare's adaptations and alterations of emphasis and plot from these...   [tags: Shakespeare As You Like It Essays]
:: 10 Works Cited
1683 words
(4.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]