William Shakespeare's As You Like It As a Study of Perception and Misperception

William Shakespeare's As You Like It As a Study of Perception and Misperception

Length: 2304 words (6.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

William Shakespeare's As You Like It As a Study of Perception and Misperception

The concepts of perception and misperception are common themes in many
of Shakespeare's plays and can be found in his comedies, tragedies and
histories alike. Shakespeare explores these often-parallel elements
through several different forms in his work, such as disguise,
mistaken identity and blindness, and events caused by these can lead
to amusing, confusing or sometimes tragic consequences, depending on
the nature of the plays themselves.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines 'perception' as 'the ability to
see, hear or become aware of something through the senses,' 'a way of
regarding, understanding or interpreting something,' and as 'intuitive
understanding and insight.'[1] There is not a separate entry for
'misperception' but it is almost possible to discern its meaning by
figuratively inverting the former definition. However, this is not
quite accurate, for 'misperception' is not 'the inability to see, hear
or become aware of something through the senses' - it is more 'to see,
hear or become aware of something incorrectly.' To misperceive is to
wilfully misunderstand something, to labour under the false impression
that something you have seen, heard or become aware of is
unequivocally correct.

Applying this to plays such as Twelfth Night, King Lear, Macbeth,
Othello and, of course, As You Like It, it becomes clear that the
themes of perception and misperception are central to their plots. In
Twelfth Night, Viola disguises herself as Cesario, a young man, with
the objective of gaining admission into Olivia's court. King Lear has
the concep...

... middle of paper ...

...saman Maus,
Katharine, eds,

The Norton Shakespeare (London: Norton, 1997)

Pearsall, Judy, ed, The Concise Oxford Dictionary - Tenth Edition,

(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001)

Shakespeare, William, As You Like It (London: Penguin, 1968)


[1] The Concise Oxford Dictionary ed. Judy Pearsall (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2001) p.1059

[2] William Shakespeare, As You Like It (London: Penguin, 1968) Act II
scene 1, lines 2-17. All other references are to this edition and are
given in parentheses in the essay.

[3] Act II, scene 1 lines 58-61.

[4] Act III, scene 2 lines 11-18.

[5] Act III, scene 3 line 15.

[6] Act II, scene 5 lines 5 and 16, Act II, scene 7 line 112.

[7] Act III, scene 2 line 131.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Fool in William Shakespeare's As You Like It Essay

- The Fool in William Shakespeare's As You Like It The fool is one of the first character archetypes that any student of literature learns how to analyze. Despite his seemingly light or even pointless chatter, the fool usually manages to say some fairly important things. Upon further study, the student may perceive that it is because of his penchant for silliness that the fool is given leave to express even offensive truths about the other characters. What happens, though, when one fool encounters another....   [tags: William Shakespeare As You Like Essays]

Strong Essays
1539 words (4.4 pages)

As You Like It written by William Shakespeare Essay example

- Actually, this play chronologically set between 1598 and 1600s. This homonymous play published, after Williams Shakespeare’s death, in the First Folio in 1623, with other plays and sonnets written by him. As You Like It characterized as pastoral comedy. According to a definition of what is the pastoral comedy, Pastoral genre is regularly, a pastoral story includes banishes from urban or court life who escapes to the shelter of the wide open, where they frequently cover themselves as shepherds so as to talk with different shepherds on an extent of built subjects, from the relative benefits of life at court versus life in the nation to the relationship between nature and symbolization....   [tags: Shakespeare, pastoral comedy, as you like it]

Strong Essays
1019 words (2.9 pages)

Misperception and Deception in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night Essay

- Misperception and Deception in Twelfth Night                  Twelfth Night is likely one of Shakespeare’s most entertaining and complete comedy. This romance explores a generous wealth of themes and issues. The most recurrent theme is the relationship between misperception and deception. As a result of their environment and immediate circumstances, men are forced into misperceptions. Paradoxically, they are completely trapped by these illusions. Between the bad fortune they encounter and the bad fortune they themselves generate, they become caught between a rock and a hard place; they are victims of deceit as well as their own folly....   [tags: Twelfth Night William Shakespeare]

Strong Essays
2156 words (6.2 pages)

Critical Analysis: Hypotheses on Misperception Essay

- According to Robert Jervis, for an actor to determine how he will act, he has to predict how other will act and how their actions will affect their values. The actor will develop an image and the intentions of others (Jervis 1968). He believes that misperception can rule over the mind of an actor, while ignoring accurate information. He develops fourteen hypotheses, seven on misperception and seven about perception Yes, I agree with Jervis’s hypotheses. Misperception of an actor of others causes others to misperceive as well....   [tags: Psychology]

Strong Essays
1391 words (4 pages)

The Misperception Of Fighting Beauty Bias Essay

- The misperception of fighting beauty bias Is it a crime to be born beautiful. For some, the answer is perhaps yes. From women such as the mythical character Helen of Troy, historical figure Cleopatra to scandalous socialite, Wallis Simpson or even Marilyn Monroe, the tragedies and misfortunes that they endured are often believed to be the repercussions of their gifted beauty. However, in today’s world, not all of these features of physical attractiveness are victimized. For example, The Beauty Bias claims that being born beautiful is now more likely to be considered as an advantage in the competitive job market....   [tags: Human physical appearance, Physical attractiveness]

Strong Essays
805 words (2.3 pages)

Loyalty in William Shakespeare's As You Like It Essay

- Loyalty in William Shakespeare's As You Like It In Shakespeare's As You Like It loyalty is dominant theme. Each character possesses either a loyalty or disloyalty towards another. These disloyalties and loyalties are most apparent in the relationships of Celia and Rosalind, Celia and Duke Fredrick, Orlando and Rosalind, Adam and Orlando, and Oliver and Orlando. In these relationships, a conflict of loyalties causes characters to change homes, jobs, identities and families. Two characters, Celia and Rosalind are loyal to each other throughout the play, which is apparent through the decisions Celia makes....   [tags: Shakespeare As Like It Theme]

Free Essays
1029 words (2.9 pages)

William Shakespeare 's As You Like It Essay

- Shakespeare has incorporated several important themes in “As You Like It”, some of which are gender disguise and homoerotism. The play revolves around some acts of deception, for example Rosalind and Celia disguising themselves as Ganymede and Aliena. Rosalind’s disguise remains more debatable because she dresses herself as a country man, Ganymede, while Celia maintains her sexual identity. By inventing new appearances, however, Rosalind and Celia sort of inspire their lovers. Orlando reveals to Ganymede about his extreme love for Rosalind which he couldn’t have if he knew that he was talking to Rosalind and not Ganymede....   [tags: Love, Romance, As You Like It, Romance]

Strong Essays
966 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on The Character of Rosalind in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It

- The Character of Rosalind in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It   The title of William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy As You Like It, is indicative of the maladjusted perceptions of the characters in the play. Each character in one way or another holds true to off-base viewpoints regarding relationships concerned with love that stir up conflict and strife amongst the characters. This disharmony that plagues the play is only ultimately resolved through the initiative of the character Rosalind....   [tags: Shakespeare As You Like It Essays]

Strong Essays
2730 words (7.8 pages)

Romantic Love in William Shakespeare's As You Like it and Twelfth Night

- Romantic Love in William Shakespeare's As You Like it and Twelfth Night The fickleness of romantic love is a major theme in William Shakespeare’s comedies As You Like It and Twelfth Night, or What You Will. Shakespeare’s implicit social commentary takes the fundamentally masculine perspective of romantic relationships, which argues that a clear-cut dichotomy exists between love and physical attraction. According to evolutionary psychological theory, females often tend to automatically associate the emotion of love with physicality and the physical act of sex because an emotional bond with a mate is necessary in order to establish a secure family unit....   [tags: Shakespeare You Like Twelfth Night Essays]

Strong Essays
1537 words (4.4 pages)

Ideas About Trust in William Maxwell’s What He Was Like Essay

- In William Maxwell’s “What He Was Like”, the characters’ trust in each other changes throughout the story. For example, the father trusts that his diaries will remain unread, but this does not happen. However, the mother understands and obeys this trust. Unfortunately, the daughter does not understand her father’s trust. A person’s ideas about trust change after reading this story. “He was aware that his remarks were sometimes far from kind, but the person they were about was never going to read them, so what difference did it make” (p....   [tags: Maxwell What He Was Like Essays Trusting]

Free Essays
381 words (1.1 pages)