Bring out the romantic elements in As You Like It.
Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ is a finest kind of romantic comedy. A romantic comedy is a play in which violates the classical or neo-classical rigid rules and norms and deals with love at first sight, unbridled emotions and passions, imagination and fancy, fun and laughter. We need to discuss various element and aspects of the play ‘As You Like It’ to justify how far it is a romantic comedy.
The mingling of comic and tragic incidents in As You Like It is romantic. In this play the banishment of Duke Senior and Rosalind, Oliver’s plan to set fire to Orlando’s lodging are sad happenings. But the play in its total effect is a comedy which provides much amusement and mirth to us.
As You Like It is romantic comedy in the sense that it does not follow the classical; three unities of time, place and action. The action of the play occurs over a period of at least ton days instead of 24 hours; the scene of this play shifts from the city to the forest of Arden, from the forest of Arden back to the city, and then again to the forest of Arden instead of centering round the same place; and here we find three sub- plots besides the main plot.
However, the most striking romantic element in the plot is the theme of youthful love. In this play, Rosalind and Orlando fall in love with each other at first sight. Then we find Orlando in the Forest of Arden composing verses in praise of her beauty and virtue; and Rosalind disguised as Ganymede induces Orlando to make love to her saying: “Come, woo me, woo me; for now I am in a holiday humor and like enough to consent.” The sudden love of Celia and Oliver is a romantic affair too. Phebe’s love for Ganymede has also a romantic basis.
There is something romantic about the attachment of Celia to Rosalind. Celia is so attached to Rosalind. Similarly, there is something romantic even about the loyalty and devotion of Adam to Orlando.
The play is romantic also in its setting. In the city life, Rosalind’s and Orlando’s virtues arouse so much envy that both must flee to avoid being murdered. In the country, these two noble characters prosper. Virtuous Duke Senior seems to be happier in exile than he was at court. Country folk like Corin and Audrey are simple, hardworking people. Silvius and Phebe may seem silly, but they are harmless and rather charming. Finally both villains (Oliver and Duke Fredrick) renounce evil as soon as they arrive in the forest.
As You Like It is a romantic comedy in its treatment of some sweet songs that add special charm and melodious atmosphere in the play.
To conclude the brief discussion given above proves clearly to us that As You Like It contains the qualities of romantic comedy. So it may be just to say that As You Like It is a romantic comedy.