As You Like It

As Society Likes It: A Heteronormative Ending to a Homosexual Play College

From the viewpoint of our world today, Shakespeare’s era seems about as conservatively-minded as a society could get. Shakespeare completely demolishes this notion, with his progressive suggestions of a normalcy in homosexuality and transgenderism in his comedy, As You Like It. He first introduces these differing sexualities in depicting a homosexual love between Celia and Rosalind, followed by Orlando and Ganymede—Rosalind’s male disguise. In doing so, Shakespeare also brings about the question of Rosalind as an independent character, or if she is truly independent at all. More important, though, is the epilogue. Just as Shakespeare forces the audience and the characters into a realm of heteronormativity, Rosalind’s epilogue reminds us of the homosexuality that we had previously accepted, before it was overshadowed by the relationships that society had deemed to be correct. Rosalind’s epilogue leaves us wondering if the patriarchal, heteronormative society that Shakespeare presents by the end of the play is the ideal one, or if, rather, a society in which all sexualities and genders are accepted is ideal—we are left yearning for a transgendered Rosalind and the homosexual relationships presented previously.

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