Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” has been a formulaic comedy where the ideals of love and virtues have been shown to be triumphing over everything else. The figures in the play are not complex and while each character retains their own distinction there is nothing significant or remarkable to the layers of their unearthing. There are some typographical characters in the play that blend in well with theme that it portrays.
The most important characters in “As You Like It” are Rosalind, Orlando, Jaques and Touchstone.
Rosalind dominates the whole play and she is the character who displays some layers of complexity as well as subtlety of emotions. Orlando is a strong, forthright and headstrong character but the reader or audience feels that Rosalind has settled for some one who is less magnificent than her. The observations of Jaques and Touchstone are quite bright and shine through the play. There are also rather dull stages within the play that are iterating quite the ordinary.
Rosalind is both successful as well as knowledgeable. She is also a charming self critic. She is also open to be receptive of circumstances quite unlike Jacque who refuses to participate in the foolishness of others around him.
Rosalind is an astute observer and yet likes to mingle with people with wit.
She even challenges Orlando’s idealism of her pointing it out to be platonic and unreal. She even challenges the devotion of Silivius towards Phoebe. Overall she is a fresh critic to the irrationality of human behavior and social expectations and yet she maintains grace and demeanor.
However she is also a softer spirit who gets undone at her lover’s spirit of inconsequential tardiness and even faints at the sight of her lover’s blood. She is no way away from her feelings and the thicket of human emotions amidst her careful reasoning and balancing wit. She stands out as a favorite among feminist Shakespearean critics and comes with boldness and imagination brought at the same plate.
There is a lot in her that is being shown through her disguised self. With her basic understanding of human characters she comes with the right instructions and tutorship for a young man who wants to woo his lover. She contorts the limitations that society put on the gender differences and especially undermining the capabilities of the feminine power. The greatest comic appeal of the play lies in the disguises played by Rosalind that defies the conventions of the male-female expectations.
The Elizabethan audience could have been a lot apprehensive about her character as she certainly defied the assertions of the expected roles posed by a male-dominated society. However her character shows a new realm to the audience just as the forest dwellers in the play leave the familiar world behind them to come to a new learning experience with the enchanted realm.