"As You Like It" as a romantic comedy.

  Shakespeare’s As You Like It is a finest kind of romantic comedy. A romantic comedy is a play in which romantic elements are mingled with comic elements. It is a marvellous kind of play which appeals to our emotion, imagination, fancy and to our faculty of laughter.

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 a 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 ten 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 play 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 humour 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 that we find her say:

“We (Celia & Rosalind) still have slept together.
Rose at an instant, learn'd, play’d, eat together,
And wherever we went like Juno’s swans,
Still we went coupled and inseparable”.

Similarly, there is something romantic even about the loyalty and devotion of Adam to Orlando.

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.

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