Rosalind



The main themes of "As You Like It" are the pastoral ideal and the ideal of romantic love. Forest of Aden is the primary setting where these themes develop. Nature serves as a refuge from society where we can find solutions to injustice and unhappiness. This play is a comedy and thus has a happy ending but it is not a fairy tail. Shakespeare highlights the difference between reality and illusion. Rosalind embodies the sensibility, the humor and the kind of love that leads to a happy, harmonious living. She brings the plot to a resolution when four contrasting romances end in marriage. The focus of the play is her romance with Orlando.
Rosalind wants to find a lover without losing her sense of self in the process. Rosalind answers the questions about love, which arise during the play. She is a lovesick maiden and yet she remains an intelligent, witty, and strong character. Rosalind is also a good judge of character. She sees through Jaque\'s seemingly deep thoughts and recognizes the wisdom of clown Touchstone. Furthermore, she cleverly uses her disguise to get to know Orlando and educate him about love.
The meeting of Orlando and Rosalind is the most important event in Act 1 of the play; it is love at first sight. Celia and her cousin talk about falling in love just before the wrestling match.
From henceforth I will, coz, and devise sports.
Let me see, what think you of falling in love?

Her words indicate that Rosalind is ready to face the danger of falling in love. She infers that her father would approve of Orlando because her father approved of his father Sir Rowland. Their meeting reveals a vulnerable side of the Rosalind as she gives him a chain, says, "Gentleman, wear this for me" and waits for him to continue the conversation.
In Act Shakespeare draws parallels between Rosalind\'s relationship with Celia and Orlando\'s relationship with Adam. When Duke Fredrick banishes his niece from the court, Celia makes a quick decision to go to the Forest of Aden with her cousin and to look for her uncle. This illustrates the degree if love and loyalty between them. Orlando\'s elder brother Oliver denies him education. When Orlando is leaving for the forest Adam wants to go with him to serve and protect him.
Master, go on, and I will follow thee
To the last gasp with truth and loyalty…
Yet fortune cannot recompense me better
Than to die well and not my master\'s debtor. (2.4. 70-75)

Soon after entering the Forest of Arden Rosalind discovers love poems that Orlando hang on the trees. She loses self-control as she reads them one after another. When she finds out that Celia has seen Orlando she is very excited and cannot stop asking her questions, "What did he when you thou saw\'st him? What said he? How looked he…" (3.2. 218-20) For a brief period of time, she becomes a victim of infatuation like those she scorns. She is betrayed by something she feels and finds it difficult to admit the truth in love. Shakespeare thus illustrates that she is not ideal, that she has flaws like all other human being.
Rosalind\'s clever idea to dress up as Ganymede enables her to have a double identity, which will give her the opportunity to test Orlando\'s love. Her disguise probably prevents their immediate marriage. "I will speak to him like a saucy lackey and under that habit play the knave with him." (3.2.292-93) She does not however merely play games, Rosalind she teaches Orlando how to love her. He must keep his promises and respect her thereby proving that his love is real. She takes a cynical view of romantic love to tease Orlando. Rosalind begins to tire of acting after the momentary drop of her guise when she faints at seeing Orlando\'s bloody handkerchief. When Orlando proves himself to Ganymede and saves the life of his brother Rosalind is ready to make a commitment to him. She does not dispose of her disguise until then because she realizes that only time will show if they are really in love. Time refines their passion for one another.
Rosalind is a philosopher Rosalind like Jaque. Her practical love-filled perceptions of the world contrast with his cynical views.