Essay on William Shakespeare 's Play As You Like It

Essay on William Shakespeare 's Play As You Like It

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During Shakespeare’s time, women lived in a patriarchal society where they were limited in power and dependent on men. Women in this society were expected to be submissive and to let men pave their path to a successful life by being passive. For Rosalind and Celia, the two main women in Shakespeare’s comedic play As You Like It, their identities through their disguises challenge this social construct by elevating their power as women rather than weakening them by allowing them to explore multiple facets of their behaviors that they could not do before. Despite being belittled by the male characters, such as Touchstone or Duke Ferdinand, Rosalind and Celia do not allow the men to suppress or influence their identities. These independent women utilize their intelligence by deceiving the socially privileged men in the play through their disguises. Throughout the play, they challenge the traditional aspects of women during this time to demonstrate how powerful they are. While confined in the traditional views of a 16th century woman, Rosalind and Celia defy the meek male characters and show the ways in which they can be empowered rather than weakened by male figures.
Rosalind and Celia are aware of their roles as women, yet they still resist anyone who attempts to disparage them. Rather than letting men influence who they are, they take agency and create their own identities without being dependent on men. Rosalind says, “Mistake me not so much / To think my poverty is treacherous” (1.3.67-68). She refuses to let a superior male, Duke Ferdinand, identify who she is because he lacks authority over her. She is in control over herself and denies men the power to govern women. Rosalind knows who she is and remains independent....


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...ed the help of others to be in control; she is confident enough to be “alone to woo him” (1.3.140). These women demonstrate how they are not afraid to venture into the natural world and how they have more strength than the men.
This play poses copious questions on gender relations, class, and social constructs. The stereotypes and social constructs Rosalind and Celia challenge throughout As You Like It demonstrate how they are empowered women, especially during a time where women were meant to be passive objects. These women show how they are not meant to be viewed under the scope of just females. Instead, they raise discussions such as gender fluidity and what defines masculinity. Rosalind and Celia contradict the stereotypical traits of being masculine and reveal how people are mutable. People do not need to be confined into a certain category or stereotype.

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