Twelfth Night & as You Like It

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Shakespeare's romantic comedies such as As You Like It & Twelfth Night are all full of various love-relationships. The central pair of lovers in As You Like It comprises Rosalind & Orlando, and the love is an example of love at the first sight which, nevertheless, does not run smooth. The love originates in the Duke's Court during the wrestling bout won over by Orlando. It, however, matures in the pastoral setting of the Forest of Arden, where Rosalind takes the initiative by being disguised as Ganymede, and Orlando showing his passion as a love-lorn youth hanging verses on to the trees. The Oliver-Celia love seems to stand in opposition to the Orlando-Rosalind affair. Celia is more matter-of-fact than her friend & cousin, Rosalind, and her love for Oliver is more reported than enacted in the play. The Silvius-Phebe affair is the stereotypical pastoral-romantic stuff cast in a frame of mockery : Silvius being more in love with the idea of love and its conventions, rather than with his beloved. Touchstone, the professional jester, makes a parody of romantic love in his having the country wench, Audrey, for a bride. Touchstone is himself aware of only the sexual aspect of love & reminds us of the same. He looks for a bogus priest to solemnise his marriage, and thinks of a divorce even before marrying Audrey. It seems that the Forest of Arden is replete with love, though all the versions of love are not genuinely romantic, and there are gestures of love that border on the farcical. The usurper duke's Court is deficient in love: there is lack of brotherly love between the two dukes and between Oliver & Orlando to which is contrasted is the sisterly love between Rosalind & Celia. As You Like It thus illustrates a large variety of love, revealing sharp contrasts between the romantic and the matter-of-fact, between the ideal & the actual
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