Describe Rosalind/Ganymede and explain how she acts around Silvius and Phebe in As You Like It?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first important characteristic of Rosalind/Ganymede relating to her treatment of Silvius and Phebe is that she is a duke's daughter and, as such, expected to rule in some capacity or other, both through marriage and through overseeing the peasants surrounding whatever castle she will be lady of. The second most important trait is that Rosalind/Ganymede is moral and good, in both roles. Shakespeare doesn't, as he might have done, develop in Ganymede character traits that are different from those possessed by Rosalind: She maintains personal and moral integrity in both feminine and masculine roles and continues to be moral and good. These two traits provide the explanation for her treatment of Silvius and Phebe. First, she is by nature a ruler, one who oversees and resolves difficulties. Second, she is moral and good so she can see what is right and her intelligence enables her develop right and good resolutions that, as a ruler, she has no hesitations about implementing. A third point not to be overlooked is that in Act 4, Rosalind is Ganymede and, though her character traits are unchanged, her manner is changed to a more masculine one of heightened authority to rule as is evidenced by her remonstrance to gentle Celia:

CELIA: Alas, poor shepherd!
ROSALIND: Do you pity him? No, he deserves no pity.

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As You Like It

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