Attitudes Toward Love and Marriage in Shakespeare's As You Like It

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Attitudes Toward Love and Marriage in Shakespeare's As You Like It

Nearly every character in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” has a marked opinion on love and marriage which ranges from the romantic Orlando to Ganymede who is quite skeptical of love and endeavors to “rid” Orlando of his petty infatuation for Rosalind.
Touchstone, who has what I consider the most unique view on love and marriage put forth in the play, makes his views known in a speech concerning faith and his indifference thereof. He believes that marriage serves as a sign of honor and respectability rather than love – he gives the explanation “as a walled town is more worthier than a village, so is the forehead of a married man more honorable than the bare brow of a
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Rosalind, or Ganymede, displays a duality vital to her disguise and the plot line. Ganymede has a scorn for love as she expresses to Orlando by declaring, “Love is merely a madness, and, I tell you, deserves as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do”. This she says but minutes after proclaiming her adamant love for Orlando. The façade she dons in relation to her feelings on love conversely reinforces the image of her as an earnest romantic. It attests to the lengths she will go to for the requital of her love for Orlando.
Likewise, Shakespeare also depicts Orlando as a hopeless romantic. However, he seems to be more easily swayed by peoples’ opinions than Ganymede, and thus allows “him” to act as Rosalind would as a test of his love. It seems at though Rosalind, as Ganymede would not need that type of affirmation; she probably would have denied the offer proclaiming her love true and needing no test to prove itself. Orlando on the other hand, seems to either need this test to prove to himself that his love for Rosalind is enduring or he truly wishes to rid himself of his ardor, the former being the more likely of the two in my opinion. Though outwardly he professes his love with gusto as he does in his response to Ganymede’s inquisition as to who had been carving love poems on the forest trees, through some of his actions (i.e. allowing Ganymede to attempt to cure him

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