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Belonging in as You Like It

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Taylor21
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How does Shakespeare explore one aspect of belonging in the play?

“The spirit of my father grow strong in me”
In the play As You Like It, by William Shakespeare, Orlando believes that he will grow to be like his father and that he has a relational connection with his father. Shakespeare explores many aspects of belonging and not belonging in relationships with families, couples, genders and social class. He uses a wide range of dramatic and language techniques to explore the relational aspects of belonging.

Juxtaposition is used throughout the play to show the difference in relationships. It shows the contrast between Oliver and Orlando’s despising relationship compared with Rosalind and Celia’s loving relationship. For example Celia and Rosalind’s relationship is described as “being ever from their cradles bred together” and “never two ladies loved as they do”. This is a contrast to Oliver calling his brother a “villein” and Oliver controlling his brother “for the which his animals on his dunghills are as much bound to him as I”. Juxtaposition between scenes is also used to explore relationships in As You Like It.

“Loves one dearer than the natural bond of sisters”. Emotive language is used to explore how Celia and Rosalind have a very deep relationship. Words such as “loves” and “natural” explore how close they are as cousins and how they are held by one another. “Sweet my coz,” is another example of emotive language.

Classical allusion is also used to show belonging in the play. “Juno’s swans,” describes how Rosalind and Celia are happy when they are with each other and how they go together well. “Like Diana in the fountain” is another example of classical allusion talking about the virtue between Orland and Rosalind. This explores how they belong to each other but Orlando is not aware of who Rosalind is.

Listing and building up of words that are associated with belonging also explore relationships in the play. For example, “slept together… learned, played, eat together” and “men are in April when they woo, December when they wed; maids are May when they are maids”. These explore the relationship between Celia and Rosalind and also Rosalind and Orlando.

Repetition and word choice are also used to create the effect and explore belonging in relationships in the play. This shows the love between Celia and Rosalind; “her smoothness, her very silence and her patience”. The repetition of the word “her” shows how much trust Celia has for Rosalind. The word choice of “coupled”, “inseparable” and “cannot live without her”, shows how close the cousins are in their relationship.

Overall, Shakespeare uses juxtaposition, emotive language, classical allusion, listing and building, repetition and word choice to explore belonging and not belonging in relational matters in the play As You Like

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