Discuss the significance of disguise in As You Like It.

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The theme of disguise is central to As You Like It, as two of the main characters spend most of the play disguised as other people. More generally, the idea of artifice contrasted with authenticity is central to the play’s presentation of society, in which the virtues of the natural world are promoted over the falsity of the urban, courtly environment. Disguise and artifice also feature in Jaques’s soliloquy about life as a series of roles and performances.

When Rosalind is banished and Celia runs away with her, their central vehicle for avoiding detection is disguise. They dress as men and assume men’s names, but they also pretend to be poor people rather than nobility. After Rosalind, as Ganymede, meets up again with Orlando , with whom she is already in love, she must disguise her feelings as much as her gender and true identity. Humor thus becomes a disguise for love, as she simultaneously mocks and promotes the emotions she feels. When she almost reveals herself by fainting, the...

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