Belonging: Shakespeare's as You Like It and One Related Text

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AOS - Belonging

'Sometimes we belong most in the places we shouldn't and vice versa.' Discuss this referring to your set text and one related text.

For human beings, belonging creates a connectedness that helps nurture self-esteem and confidence. The social and cultural milieu provided by society offers a range of specific roles and circumstances that a person is expected to abide by and a person is rewarded with the the knowledge that they belong if they play these roles as well as possible. However, circumstances beyond control can lead a person to being unable to fulfill the expected roles enabling a sense of isolation and not belonging. This can be particularly seen in As You Like it and Tim Burton’s 2010 movie remake of Alice in Wonderland, both of which have protagonists that have little control over their own circumstances and are as a consequence isolated and at odds with places where they should belong.

In As You Like It, the traditions and dispositions of society push characters to play certain roles. Rosalind, the protagonist of As You Like It, has no control over the societal and gender expectations laid before her. Despite being the most intelligent, active and interesting character in the play, she is confined into the expected female role, suppressing her personality, in an attempt to fit into and belong at the court which embodies the societal expectations of the period. Her attempts at conformity lead her to initially feel fear at seeking out the forest of arden as such a place would be dangerous to a woman and yet she overcomes this by transcending gender boundaries, choosing to masquerade as a man. While disguised as a man Rosalind is able to unleash her true personality and fully explore her identity. It can be seen that had Rosalind not used the role of Ganymede within the forest, she may have been left in a largely passive role similar to that of Celia who is unable to shake off the constraints of her femininity. Despite having...
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