As You Like It

As Rosalind Likes It

Rosalind's literal significance in Shakespeare's "As You Like It" is grounded in her motivation in acting as Ganymede, for it is her sole perspective that elucidates the reader of the biases of society's gender roles. The necessity for Rosalind to perform as Ganymede defines her with a perverse yet rational will, for instead of speaking in the abstract as Celia does and "sit[ting back] and mock[ing]" (I.ii.ln.31) Fortune's gifts being unequally bestowed to men and women, Rosalind physically takes on the duty of the "bountiful blind woman [who] doth most mistake in her gifts to women" (I.ii.ln.35). She is truly a "blind woman," knowing not what she will encounter, and forced to quite literally become blind to a society whose head, Duke Frederick, has made her ill favored in the court. As Celia says, "those that [Fortune] makes honest, she makes very ill favoredly" (I.ii.ln.37). And yet it is not Fortune's action, but society's cutthroat decision in banishing Rosalind that forces Rosalind to disguise herself as Ganymede, and in doing so, dishonestly represent her true gender. Appearances are certainly deceiving, for even fate is molded to accommodate that...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 747 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4499 literature essays, 1451 sample college application essays, 183 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in