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Compare and contrast the characters of Rosalind and Celia in As You Like It.

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tariqul060 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 1, 2009 at 3:27 AM via web

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Compare and contrast the characters of Rosalind and Celia in As You Like It.

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K.P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted April 30, 2010 at 8:54 AM (Answer #1)

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Rosalind is the central focalizing character, the one through whose focus the audience evaluates events in As You Like It. Rosalind has high moral and ethical integrity and responds to the unjustified villainy of Duke Frederick by taking control of her situation and escaping to another kind of life. It is important to note that Rosalind's escape isn't a reckless flight of uncontrolled fear. On the contrary, it is reasoned flight based on logical principles with a reasonable expectation of a safer living situation.

In Arden forest, she shows herself to be powerful and knowledgeable, which give her a position of authoritative command. However, she never sheds her tender womanly feelings and ideals even while she is taking charge and helping others to solve their problems.

Celia shares Rosalind's moral and ethical integrity and the two young women are very much alike in spirited youthfulness and sincerity. Yet a change comes over Celia once she and Rosalind get to Arden forest, she traveling as Aliena (derived from "alienated") and Rosalind traveling as Ganymede. It is Aliena's task, as it within her financial means, to purchase a cottage and set up housekeeping for herself and Ganymede, and she doesn't seem all that keen to do it. Correspondingly, from that time on, Aliena fades into the background of the story while Ganymede becomes the more clearly centered focus.

In the final scene, when Rosalind and Celia change back into their own identities by changing back into their own clothes, Rosalind shedding her male's clothes and Celia shedding her female householder clothes, they are wed and a party of celebration begins. There is no evidence to say whether Celia ever reclaims control over her own experience and expression of liveliness or whether the retired, retreated qualities of Aliena become a permanent fixture, possibly for Rosalind too, as newly established householders in marriage.

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