Sibling rivalry is a type of competition or animosity among children, blood-related or not. The sibling bond is often complicated and is influenced by factors such as parental treatment, birth order, personality, and people and experiences outside the family. According to a child psychologist sibling rivalry is particularly intense when children are very close in age and of the same gender, or where one child is intellectually gifted. In history and literature, there have been great sibling rivalries. Sibling rivalry is a common theme in the works of Shakespeare. A number of Shakespeare's plays display incidences of sibling rivalry including the way King Lear provokes rivalry among his three daughters. In The Taming of the Shrew, Sisters Kate and Bianca are shown fighting bitterly. In Richard III, the title character is at least partially motivated by rivalry with his brother, King Edward. In As You Like It, there is obvious sibling rivalry and antagonism between Orlando and Oliver, and between Duke Frederick and Duke Senior. In Act I, a prevalent theme is sibling rivalry. It can be shown through the conflict between Oliver and Orlando as well as Duke Frederick and Duke Senior. Shakespeare suggests that jealousy contributes strongly to sibling rivalry through the parallels that can be drawn through Duke Frederick and Oliver. Both are jealous of their brother’s popularity and become paranoid. Oliver babbles to himself about Orlando’s motives for power and ability to attain it even though Orlando only wants an education. Frederick does something similar although instead of commenting about Duke Senior directly he comments about Rosalind, his brother’s daughter, to his own daughter Celia. Like Oliver, Duke Frederick talks about Rosalind’s likability as a threat to Celia, showing his own insecurity. When Celia rejects her father’s ideals and goes with Rosalind to Arden she shows that sibling rivalry is not passed down. The ideals of our parents are not necessarily our ideals. The issue of family loyalty comes up when Celia leaves her father. In this situation family loyalty wins against the personal loyalty and rightly so because Duke Frederick’s issues with his brother deny family loyalty in the first place. The situation with Rosalind staying with Celia and Duke Frederick is complicated, but it doesn’t become a big family drama like one might expect. While Oliver and Frederick are both power hungry and insecure they are opposites in primogeniture. Oliver is the eldest and abuses his power over the family fortune, whereas Duke Frederick is the younger and had overthrown his elder brother. Shakespeare suggests that it doesn’t matter what order you were born in how, you treat your siblings is your responsibility. Shakespeare also says that siblings can get along through Rosalind’s and Celia’s relationship. Although they are not exactly sisters they are related by blood and are very close, they also pose as brother and sister when they go to Arden. The forest signifying nature also implies that their good sibling relationship is natural and sibling drama is caused by problems like greed for money and power and the issues of the city. Overall Shakespeare says that sibling rivalry isn’t really a family matter it’s a personal issue that has to be sorted out without involving anyone and creating any drama.
Rivalry between Oliver and Orlando:
Oliver, Jacques and Orlando are the sons of Sir Rowland de Boys, who has recently died. According to primogeniture, the system in which all of a father's wealth, land, and titles are passed down to his eldest son, all of Sir Rowland de Boy’s wealth and land are inherited by Oliver. Oliver is handling the family business, Jacques is away studying in the university, and Orlando has nothing to do as Oliver wasn’t ready to pay for his schooling. Though everything has been given to the eldest son, Sir Rowland de Boys has left something for his youngest son also....