Love Is ‘As You Like It’

Love is different like everyone is different in his emotions, thoughts, ideals, feelings and styles. Although there are many love pattern stories they remain just written or told patterns which nobody wants or is able to follow. Shakespeare’s genius knew this like no one else.

His play ‘As You Like It’ perfectly shows the different values people associate with their beloved and ideal relationships. There are four love couples in the play: Rosalind and Orlando, Silvius and Phebe, Touchstone and Audrey, Olivier and Celia. All couples belong to different social classes and originate from quite different family roots. Of course, their different origin, society, education and family environment have established different values of human nature and relationships. Noble Rosalind, who lacks her father’s attention, idealizes a hero, a brave knight who is able to fight for her dignity and life. At the same time lack of male care has made her be attracted by a man who would be enough tender and sensitive to glorify her beauty and soul. Although such ideal image is too romantic to be real Rosalind manages to create such relationships with Orlando through quite practical trial: she tested Orlando’s feeling to her in quite difficult cases where he has to make hard choices.

Silvius belongs to the lower class and shows the model of pastoral love to his ‘shepherdess’ Phebe. Unlike Silvius who worships pastoral love crying and suffering his beloved Phebe ignores her idolization and Silvius’ praying. She is a shepherdess, may be, that’s why she prefers rude, loud, strong and straight man who she would worship for all her life. Why does Shakespeare marry this couple? Who knows, may be he wants to marry all couples by the end…

Touchstone and Audrey are servants. However, Touchstone is wise enough to not value love which, by his opinion, would only disturb real partnership between a man and a woman. Another aspect that attracts him in Audrey is that she is much sillier than he is. He must be a ruler who would be obeyed by his partner. Audrey chooses him for just because he is stronger and cleverer than her boy-friend!

The most astonished, unexpected and fastest marriage has been made for Celia and Olivier. Both have noble origin and many common features, thoughts and ideals. However, none of them are really willing to marry! They are very educated, clever, reasonable, progressive and smart; too smart to be dependent on marriage and family duties; too clever to get caught by unreasonable and unexpected emotions. Here the Shakespeare’s genius gave us a smile: do not deny mistakes until the very last moment of your life because there is always a possibility to make them. All unreasonable, unplanned and thoughtless things are considered to be mistakes. Celia’s and Olivier’s immediate love strike is a mistake, but they feel so happy!

Of course, the Shakespeare’s four couples are not love patterns either. There is only one pattern which all truly love couples follow for centuries, and this pattern requires only one thing: to be happy with whatever relationships you want or choose.

Love Is ‘As You Like It’ 9.5 of 10 on the basis of 1903 Review.