As you like it is a romantic comedy. It is full of sunshine, love, laughter, and song. The predominant mood of the play is one of cheerfulness, light-hearted gaiety, and laughter. It is a pure and fun romantic comedy. It revolves around two plots. One centers on hatred and the other centers on love. The outcome of both plots reveals that love is all-important, whether it is brotherly love or romantic love.
The play depicts romantic love at its best. Here I discuss the character of Lady Rosalind - the daughter of Duke Senior and the heroine of the play. She displays wit, intelligence, and alertness all through the play. She recognizes lifes difficulties but holds fast to a positive attitude that is kind, playful, and, above all, wise.
Rosalinds uncle has seized her father and has banished him to the forest of Arden. Therefore, when she is banished by Duke Frederick, she goes with Celia in search of her father under the disguise of Ganymede (a young man). All along the way Rosalind acts as best as a girl could in a mans disguise, and supports Celia till she can act no longer. Here she finds her lover Orlando, who wanders through the forest hanging love verses to Rosalind. She finds these verses, and, pretending to be a male (Ganymede), allows Orlando to practice his wooing with her. She performs her share of carping, but also attacks the overwhelming over-romanticism of Orlandos love. Rosalinds lessons to Orlando are meant to make him respect that sour rind, not to put his love on a pedestal for worship. Her disguised love-play is not merely a game with hapless Orlando, but an education: he must care enough to keep his promises and appointments, and respect her enough to speak as well as kiss.
Rosalind is an interesting character to focus on. I feel that she is a tough and complex woman yet she is able to show a sense of vulnerability to the audience by being affected by Orlandos insignificant tardiness as well as being faint at the sight of blood. This gives her a more human and endearing quality that enables the audience to see her as a real woman with faults and vulnerabilitiesor a less masculine man. Shakespeare was able to give her qualities that most women want without going to the extremes. She is neither too tough nor too feminine. She is a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it yet she is able to expose a more subtle side to herself. She is realistic in her beliefs of love...perhaps cynical. She believes that it exists. She takes pleasure in loving Orlando. On the other hand, Rosalind has a strong viewpoint about love and how it should not distort ones sense of reality. This brings me to the following quote:
No, faith; die by attorney. The poor world is almost six thousand years old, and in all this time there was not any man died in his own person, videlicet, in a love-cause. Troilus had his brains dashed out with a Grecian club, yet he did what he could to die before, and he is one of the patterns of love. Leander, he would have lived many a fair year though Hero had turned nun if it had not been for a hot midsummer night, for, good youth, he went but forth to wash him in the Hellespont and, being taken with the cramp, was drowned; and the foolish chroniclers of that age found it was Hero of Sestos. But these are all lies. Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love. (IV.i.8396)
Rosalind does not live in a fantasy about love. She enjoys love and all that it entails yet she does not fall into the delusions of love. Orlandos outlandish comment stating that he would die if Rosalind did not return his love is quickly dismissed by Rosalinds monologue above. Her purpose is not to criticize love but quite the opposite. Rosalind is looking to teach a style of love that can endure the realities of life as well as a love that can bring fulfillment and joy. In the end her game works to her benefit. She ultimately marries a well trained Orlando, the love of her life.