As You like it
As a romantic comedy—
Shakespeare is the master artist in creating romantic comedy. With the ushered notes of “Much Ado about nothing,” “Twelfth Night”, his “As you like it” add the beauty to romantic smell. In his comedies he does not apply the direct criticism of life. It is the human spirit, the internal world of the human microcosom created by God in an act of divine love springs the tunes of romantic easel. To quote Baxter—
“Shakespearean comedy deals with man as he
lives, not under the law of man alone, but
also, under the low of nature and the low
And that’s the panacea of romantic comedy. Love, romance, comic elements go side by side moving the crystallization of the new society with the festive mood of the lovers. Our “As you like it” is an amalgam of two strains – romance and comedy.”
Shakespeare deals the structure with the love story starting with the notes of frustration ending in happy conclusion. There is a secondary action of strife and conflict (Orlando-oliver, and the two Dukes) which impinges upon and obstructs the love story but which is likewise happily resolved before the end of the play. What gives Shakespeare’s romantic comedies their uniqueness is the nature of the special conflict and conic resolution of attitudes of love. Rejection of love, sentimental idealizing, realistic concern with physical aspect are the chords of romantic love affair, celia and Rosalind (disguish as Ganymede). Orlando and Touchstone, not to mention Phebe, Silvins and Audrey exhaust the gamut of attitude to love. Out of comic juxtaposition of these attitudes, the chief characters emerge with an ideal attitude—the best that can be hoped for in the world we know.
“As you like it” strikes the stock imgredient of romance, a handsome all mannered young hero the youngest of three brothers, two disguised princesses to be wooed and wed and a banished, virtuous Duke to be restore to his rightful throne.
The story steeps in a fairy tale hovering in the land of imagination. A man has died and left three sons, the eldest of whom is wicked while the youngest virtuous with excess courage and strength to smash giant like charl the royal wrestler. Orlando therefore wins the rosy hands and heart of princess Rosalind. So, follows the romantic elements friendship between Rosalind and Celia, the Romance of love at first sight, the typical lover of romance, Orlando, the lover shaked sonneteer hanging his verses upon hawthorne and carving his beloved’s name upon the barks of plants.
From the very beginning from the courts to the woods the characters like old Duke and his followers, Rosalind Celia-Touchstone-Trios, and Orlando-Adam mingle in the heart of forest of Arden. Rosalind and Celia leave the court’s travel of order and security, going—
To liberty and not to banishments (I. (iii)
It is neither the careless golden world of the people’s imagination nor the ruffian world of Rosalind’s. we do indeed find contentment, but it has only been won by searching for new zeal—
…………..tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones and good in everything. (II)
The sudden change of fortune, the repentance of oliver the conversion of Frederick to a religious life, restoration of old Duke’s rightful prosperity, the spirit of adventure, the escapism, the disguishment are escellancy in creating the love lorn romantic affair. Phebe’s eyes have powers to a against Silvins as, tyrants, butchers, murderers’ (III. V) but that is only because Silvius sees her in that way ; when she tries to ‘entame Ganymede She is for Rosalind a ‘tyrant’ who ‘exults’ in a power which only Silvius recoguises—
“This is not her glass, but you, that flatters
She tells the youth—
“And out of you she sees herself more proper
Than any of her lineaments can show her.”
Everyone becomes the citizen of love and service.
For silvins love is —
“………..to be all made of faith and service
All adoration, duty, and observance
All humbleness, all patience and impatience,
All purity, all trial, all observance.” (V. ii)
Side by side the romance comic elements streaming into the drama and ends in a happy conclusion. Here comic matter is an accompaniment to serious action, romantic or pastoral in character. Touchstone, Jacqhes, the professional and amateur fools make fun mingled with pastoral innocence and romantic love. The touchstone andrey is a burlesque of the other love affairs. The love affairs of the three pairs of lovers silvins and Phebe, touchstone and Andrey, Orlando and Rosalind succeed in a same strain.
Yes, “As you like it” is the finest specimen of romantic comedy where romance and comedy amalgamated. To quote Coghill—
“As Shakespeare matured in comedy, he was
Increasingly taken with the theme of love………
As the core of the kind.”
Love is the supreme good of human being. If brings showers of rains to the desires of comedy. Rosalind Orlando, Phebe’s for Ganymede, and Celia’s and Oliver’s are the gems of romantic comedy.