"As You Like It" : Plot construction.

 As Shakespeare is a romantic dramatist, he is distinguished from those who followed the classical or neo-classical principles of writing plays. He violated all the three dramatic unities in this plays, including the unity of action. In most of his dramas, Shakespeare includes one or more sub-plots in addition to the main plot. The main plot of As You Like It describes the ultimate happy fate of Rosalind and Orlando, after passing through some struggles and difficulties. Besides this main plot, there are three sub-plots. Among the sub-plots, there is first, the Silvius-Phebe-Rosalind tangle. Silvius is a shepherd who has madly fallen in love with a shepherdess named Phebe. But Phebe does not respond to his love. On the other hand she falls in love with Ganymede. When Phebe discovers that Ganymede is actually a woman, Rosalind, she agrees to marry Silvius. In this sub-plot, Shakespeare utilizes pastoral element. This sub-plot is closely interwoven with the main plot because the heroine of the main plot became the object of Phebe’s passion.

Another sub-plot relates to Touchstone’s amorous desire for Audrey. Before meeting Touchstone Audrey was being courted by a country fellow, William. But Touchstone’s appearance on the scene displaces William in Audrey’s affections. Eventually Touchstone and Audrey get married. Audrey married Touchstone because it seems to her that his social position is above her. The Touchstone _ Audrey affair is a parody of the romantic love of Rosalind and Orlando. This sub-plot is not in any way related to the main plot.

The third sup-plot of the play is the love affair of Oliver and Celia. This is a romantic love affair, though they fall in love with each other at first sight. This sub-plot is closely connected with the main plot, because Celia is Rosalind’s cousin and companion, and she has come to the forest of Arden only because Rosalind had been banished. Oliver was the brother of Orlando who had been undergone a transformation in his character because his life has been saved by the very man whom he had tried his utmost to kill.

The above survey clearly shows that the structure of As You Like It is not very close-knit. Apart from pastoral sub-plot, the connections between the other two sub-plots and the main-plot are not convincing. In fact, the other two sub-plots have just been super-added to the play to lend further interest to it. So it would not be wrong to say that the structure of As You Like It is loose.

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