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All Shakespearean Comedies End in Marriage. “as You Like It” Ends in Four. Does This Mean Shakespeare Has Presented an Idealistic View of Marriage?

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Submitted By Imaan
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In Shakespearean times (and, to a large extent, today) marriage had a large role when trying to achieve a stable, happy life. However, debate arises when discussing whether or not ‘love’ plays an important part in an ideal marriage. ‘As You Like It’ encourages audiences to recognize marriage in many different and unconventional ways. For example, Phebe and Silvius have a marriage based on unrequited love.
Phebe and Silvius have a partnership that can be interpreted as a more pessimistic view on marriage; thus, opposing the idea of idealistic marriage. Much alike Romeo from Romeo and Juliet, Silvius is written as a “Petrarchan lover,” – a man who is hopelessly in love with a woman who does not share the same feelings. This can be shown through quotations such as, “Say that you love me not, but say not so in bitterness.” Their marriage is, in many ways, far from ideal. Silvius is destined to spend the rest of his days with a woman who does not love him, while Phebe is destined to spend the rest of hers with a man whom she does not love herself. Their pairing seems to be the most negative of all the marriages as Phebe only agrees to marry him due to having to reject Ganymede. Rosalind also says, “Sell when you can: you are not for all markets,” implying Phebe has little choice when selecting a husband. This highlights a fundamental problem with the idea of marriage: settling out of fear of being left unmarried. Shakespeare brings an interesting problem to the spotlight, questioning our reasons for getting married and questioning the validity of those reasons. The marriage between Phebe and Silvius most definitely does not present an idealistic view of marriage.
In contrast, Orlando and Rosalind share a marriage any hopeless romantic would strive for. A marriage based on love at first sight, the two share a bond that supports idealistic marriage to its furthest...

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