Discuss the romance between Rosalind and Orlando in Shakespare's As You Like It.

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rosalind and Orlando first meet early on in the play when he is to take on the champion of wrestling in a match held publicly. it seems to be love at first sight for the two of them and they remember each other fondly up until they meet again in the forest. Ironically, Rosalind is in men's clothing in order to secure her safety while traveling in exile with Celia and Touchstone. She then decides to use her disguise to delve deeper into discovering how true Orlando is to his feelings for her by suggesting that they role-play together and act out the romance. Orlando doesn't want to at first, but Rosalind cons him into by saying that she can cure him of his madness.

"Love is merely a madness; and, I tell you, deserves as
well a dark house and a whip as madmen do: and the reason why they are not so punished and cured is, that the lunacy is so ordinary that the whippers are in love too. Yet I profess curing it by counsel" (III.ii).

After Rosalind piques his interest by saying this, she describes how she supposedly cured another fellow of his love-sickness. As Orlando and Rosalind role-play in later scenes, she falls more in love with him. For audiences to see two men acting out love for each other is certainly comedic! For Shakespeare's time, it must have been much more hilarious to see a boy, playing a girl, playing a boy, acting like he was a girl in love with a boy. The romance is founded upon sight, but built on experience however weird or uncommon as it may seem.

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As You Like It

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