Why does Rosalind believe that Phoebe should feel lucky?

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Throughout Shakespeare's As You Like It, Phoebe, a proud shepherdess, has been passionately pursued by a Silvius, a shepherd. In act 3, scene 5 the besotted young man makes a lengthy declaration of his undying love to the icy object of his affection and is quickly rebuffed.


O dear Phebe,

If ever,—as that ever may be near,—

You meet in some fresh cheek the power of fancy,

Then shall you know the wounds invisible

That love's keen arrows make.


But till that time

Come not thou near me: and when that time comes,

Afflict me with thy mocks, pity me not;

As till that time I shall not pity thee. (3.5.29-38)

Presently, Rosalind (disguised as the male page Ganymede), who, along with Corin and Celia, has been a concealed witness to this scene, emerges from seclusion to scold the disdainful shepherdess. Why does she feel she has the right, Rosalind asks, to so thoughtlessly reject this well-favored man, since she, herself, is no beauty:


Who might be your other,

That you insult, exult, and all at once,

Over the wretched? What though you have no beauty,—

As, by my faith, I see no more in you

Than without candle may go dark to bed—

Must you be therefore proud and pitiless? (3.5.39-45)

Rosalind goes on to berate Phoebe as an ordinary woman with delusions of grandeur. Next, the disguised heroine turns her derision on the heartbroken Silvius:

You foolish shepherd, wherefore do you follow her,

Like foggy south puffing with wind and rain?

You are a thousand times a properer man

Than she a woman. 'Tis such fools as you

That makes the world full of ill-favored children. (3.5.54-58)

And returning to Phoebe, she assures her that she is lucky to have gained this man's love and offers her counsel:

Down on your knees

And thank heaven, fasting, for a good man's love,

For I must tell you friendly in your ear,

Sell when you can; you are not for all markets.

Cry the man mercy, love him, take his offer. (3.5.62-66)

But, of course, Phoebe does not immediately accept Rosalind's advice.

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