How are Celia's and Rosalind's love for each other described in Celia's statement, "[L]ike Juno's swans, still we went coupled and inseparable," found in Act 1, Scene 3 of Shakespeare's As You Like It?
2 Answers | Add Yours
Celia's statement in Act 1, Scene 3 describing that she and Rosalind, "wheresoever [they] went, like Juno's swans, / Still [they] went coupled and inseparable" is an interesting symbol and mixed allusion. Swans are a recognized symbol of love and faithfulness because swan couples have a tendency to entwine their necks in such a way as to form a heart. Due to this truth, swans became a classic symbol of love in mythology; however, swans were actually a symbol belonging to the Roman goddess Venus, the goddess of love, not the goddess Juno (Shakespeare Navigators, Note 75). The goddess Juno was known as a political goddess, a protector and an adviser to the state. Celia's choice to speak of Juno makes a very interesting point considering the fact that her father is proclaiming Rosalind's exile at the moment Celia says these lines. Hence, Celia's choice to mix her allusion by referring to the symbol of swans while also associating them with Juno rather than Venus shows her intention of subtly questioning her father's political decisions while also reminding him of her devoted love for Rosalind.
The symbol of swans with their necks entwined certainly does perfectly portray Celia and Rosalind's relationship. As Celia further asserts, at her father's own choosing, Rosalind remained with them at court, and they became inseparable, even sleeping, waking, learning, playing, and eating together. Celia even chooses to remain with Rosalind by joining her in exile, as we see in Celia's lines addressed to her father:
Pronounce that sentence then on me, my liege:
I cannot live out of her company. (I.iii.85-86)
Even in the Forest of Arden, Celia remains constantly by Rosalind's side, even accompanying Rosalind to play her tricks on Orlando by pretending to be Ganymede. Hence, Celia's resolution to even join Rosalind in exile plus the fact that she remains by Rosalind's side throughout the play certainly shows just how inseparable they are, just like the symbol of a swan couple.
We’ve answered 330,505 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question