Feminist Criticism Of Shakespeare's As You Like It

1389 Words 6 Pages
Many people think that males in our society today are brought up to define who they are as a person through the idealized version of heroics, the glory of competition, and, above all else, the idea that only winners are successful. Females, on the other hand, are brought up to define their identities through assembly, collaboration, unselfishness, home life, and community. This view of different male and female roles can be seen throughout literature. However, though both men and women have been represented throughout literature there is a clear commentary thread on the roles of women in society. This “thread” has taken a name: feminist criticism. Due to the diverse array of feminist studies, many feminist critics hesitate to propose a general …show more content…
This play is commonly known for its comedy and romance; as it tells a story of love between eight different characters. The main characters are Orlando and Rosalind, while the other six characters in love are Celia and Oliver, Touchstone and Audrey, and Silvius and Phebe. The story focuses on the two main characters which have been in love from the beginning. After Rosalind is banished by Duke Fredericks she decides to dress as a young man to protect herself and she chooses the name Ganymede. In the play, no one recognizes her as a girl as she masterfully manipulates herself to be a boy. Once she makes this decision she then decides to run off into the forest with her best friend Celia and the court jester Touchstone. While in the forest Rosalind finds some love poems that Orlando has written to Rosalind and hung from the branches of trees. Ganymede helps Orlando to cure his lovesickness by wooing him, Ganymede, as though he/she were Rosalind. A country girl, Audrey, falls in love with Touchstone and abandons her faithful William because of her love for the fool. Oliver is searching for his brother, but he has an accident involving a lion and Orlando saves his life. Orlando is slightly injured and when he tells Ganymede about it she faints. Oliver and Celia fall in love. Phebe, a country girl, falls in love with Ganymede. Ganymede convinces Phebe to stay with her faithful lover Silvius. In the end they all end …show more content…
Touchstone, the jester who runs away with Rosalind, falls in love with a country girl, Audrey. She, in return, is smitten by the jester and leaves her faithful man, William. Both Touchstone and Audrey give Shakespeare a medium to express different aspects of gender roles and feminism. Touchstone shows the full freedom of males with his risqué speeches and general lack of a filter on what he says. Touchstone’s outrageous and unfiltered language contrasts how women were very limited on what they could say. In this way Shakespeare is able to show that women are not only limited in their actions, but also in their speech. Through Audrey Shakespeare is able to show a different side of gender roles. When she 's not busy herding goats, she 's getting cozy with Touchstone. Audrey 's not particularly bright, so it 's a bit of a surprise when witty Touchstone declares that he 's going to marry her. Whereas Touchstone spends most of his time running linguistic circles around everyone, Audrey has a very hard time with basic vocabulary. However, it is not with words that Audrey conveys her part in criticism on feminism, but rather through how she is treated. As a poor uneducated woman she is taken advantage of frequently (quote). By doing this Shakespeare is able to show how women were regarded as inferior to men and were often

Related Documents