By Sterling Professor of the Humanities Harold Bloom, Pamela Loos

Shakespeare's romantic comedy, As you love It units up a few dualities, exposing the advanced relationships that exist among romance and realism, nobleman and commoner, and female and male. This learn advisor encompasses a collection of feedback during the centuries on As you love It.

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Extra resources for As You Like It (Bloom's Shakespeare Through the Ages)

Sample text

During the sessions he can more easily speak truthfully, whereas he might be more hesitant to do so if he thought he were actually in Rosalind’s presence. At this point Rosalind and Orlando have just had Celia pretend to marry them. Rosalind, no doubt, must be thrilled to realize that Orlando indeed appears ready to marry her. ” “For ever,” while as long as possible, is still not long enough to the lover, and so “a day” is added. Rosalind must poke fun at this exaggeration, but she goes beyond just poking and tries to disturb Orlando’s perception of love further.

Criticism through the Ages q 37 As You Like It in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries q While it is generally agreed that As You Like It was first performed in 1599 or 1600, perhaps for the opening of the Globe Theatre, there is no record of the play being performed again until 1740. From then through the end of the eighteenth century, the play held wide appeal, perhaps for being one of the most delightful of Shakespeare’s works. In the early 1700s, the biographer and editor Nicholas Rowe wrote in admiration of the famous “All the world’s a stage” speech.

The statement reminds the audience of the tricks they have seen during the play, when a male actor was playing Rosalind, who was pretending to be Ganymede. At times, Ganymede, in turn, was pretending to be Rosalind. The layers of disguise, during the play as in this epilogue, show the audience not just the possibility of pretense in our own lives but also of the need to reexamine sex roles. In the play, for instance, we see how relatively easy it is for the character Rosalind to take on other roles and enjoy them, and we also realize that when she initially decided to dress as Ganymede, it was as a precaution, to help keep Celia and herself safe.

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