Compare and contrast Rosalind and Celia in As You Like It.

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Rosalind and Celia have grown up together and have formed a strong attachment. Rosalind has the much stronger character. She is more intelligent than Celia and also more self-reliant,  enterprising, and resourceful. Celia is dependent and submissive. Rosalind makes a good leader and Celia a good follower. It is not surprising that it is Rosalind who decides to disguise herself as a man when the two flee from Celia's father's palace to the Forest of Arden. Rosalind also shows herself to be more assertive when she encounters Orlando. She is already in love with him but feels obliged to maintain her masculine disguise because she is acting as Celia's protector. Rosalind displays her cleverness in her battles of wit with Orlando in Act 3, Scene 2 and elsewhere thereafter.

Rosalind is peremptorily banished from her uncle Duke Frederick's court because he perceives that she outshines his own daughter Celia. He tells his daughter:

She is too subtle for thee; and her smoothness,
Her very silence and her patience
Speak to the people, and they pity her.
Thou art a fool: she robs thee of thy name;
And thou wilt show more bright and seem more virtuous
When she is gone. Then open not thy lips:
Firm and irrevocable is my doom
Which I have pass'd upon her; she is banish'd.

Since Duke Frederick has no sons to inherit the estate he has usurped from Rosalind's father, called Duke Senior, it is important to Duke Frederick that his daughter should be strong, self-confident, and decisive rather than passive and dependent. Celia cannot change to please her father. She is totally devoted to Rosalind and promises her that when her father dies she will relinquish his estate to her. When Rosalind is banished from the court, Celia gives up everything in order to accompany her friend into exile. Rosalind never displays any ulterior motive in her friendship with Celia. She loves Celia just as much as Celia loves her.

Shakespeare had a practical purpose for stressing the friendship between Rosalind and Celia. In almost any play there must be at least two characters on the stage because all the information is conveyed through dialogue. Rosalind has to be able to tell somebody what she is thinking, what she is planning, etc. This is actually the main reason why Celia accompanies her into exile. Shakespeare solves a similar problem with Orlando by having the devoted family servant Adam accompany him to the Forest of Arden. Once Rosalind and Orlando are actually in the forest, the importance of the roles of Celia and Adam diminish and the relationship between Rosalind and Orlando takes center stage.

In Shakespeare's Hamlet, the Prince is often seen by himself. He engages in long soliloquies to let the audience know what he is thinking, feeling, and planning. But this is a little awkward. Typically Shakespeare has to bring two characters together in order to advance his play. A good example is the many conferences between Macbeth and his wife. Dialogue is the heart and soul of stage plays. It is interesting to observe the combinations of characters Shakespeare creates for the purpose of having them talk to each other. Even in Hamlet he has the Prince talking to his father's ghost, to Polonius, to Ophelia, to Gertrude, to Laertes, to Horatio, to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and to many others.

Celia is not a strong character. She exists mainly to give Rosalind someone to talk to, just as Horatio exists mainly to give Hamlet someone to confide in.

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Discuss the relationship between Celia and Rosalind in As You Like It.

William Shakespeare was an English playwright who lived from April 26, 1564 to April 23, 1616. His pastoral comedy, As You Like It, was first published in 1623. It is an account of Rosalind and Celia’s journey through the Forest of Arden, on the way encountering all sorts of interesting characters.

In As You Like It, Rosalind and Celia are both young women who come from the same wealthy, aristocratic family. Celia is the daughter of Duke Frederick while Rosalind is the daughter of Duke Senior, Duke Frederick’s banished brother. The two cousins share a very close and possibly homoerotic relationship. In Act I, Scene II, in fact, Celia introduces Rosalind as “my sweet rose, my dear rose”. Additionally, in Act I, Scene II, Celia states that she could “love no man in good earnest” when asked about her thoughts on falling in love.

Rosalind takes on the more traditionally masculine role in their relationship. This is evidenced in her willingness to disguise himself as a man to offer them both protection in the forest. Thus, Rosalind becomes the male Ganymede while Celia chooses to disguise herself as the shepherdess Aliena. Rosalind is also shown to be more brave and adventurous than Celia. While Celia is not as gutsy as Rosalind, however, she proves to be very loyal to her. This loyalty leads her to disobey her father and join Rosalind in the Forest of Arden, where Rosalind’s father, Duke Senior, has held court since his banishment.

While the play hints heavily at an erotic relationship between the two, Rosalind and Celia do not end up with each other. In the end, Rosalind marries Orlando while Celia marries Orlando’s brother, Oliver.

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Discuss the relationship between Celia and Rosalind in As You Like It.

As the play opens, Rosalind and Celia are cousins and very close friends. Both come from aristocratic backgrounds: Rosalind is the daughter of the deposed Duke Senior, whose brother, Celia's father, Ferdinand, has usurped his throne and banished Duke Senior.

The relationship between Rosalind and Celia explores the loyalty and love that can permeate strong female friendships. Their bond is especially intense and has been called homoerotic by some literary critics. In act 1, the two friends are described as “coupled and inseparable”; they always share the same bed (a common practice in Elizabethan times, but one also noted as a symptom of their closeness), and Celia extravagantly offers to give Rosalind the rule of the kingdom after Celia's father dies. People in the court notice that their bond is far tighter than that of ordinary friendship. Thus, when Ferdinand banishes Rosalind, Celia feels no choice but to join her dearest friend in exile in the Forest of Arden.

The same-sex friendship assumes gender-bending qualities in Arden as Rosalind disguises herself as a male to offer them both protection in the forest. She becomes the "man" Ganymede, while Celia takes on the guise of the shepherdess Aliena, a typically female role. After they assume distinct gender identities, they also begin to assume traditional gender roles, with Rosalind more fully taking on the dominant traits associated with "maleness" and becoming an important agent of the happy resolution of the play.

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Compare the characters of Rosalind and Celia in As You Like It.

One way to answer this question is to compare the outward affect of the characters, and approach the question as a director or actor might. The two characters are sisters, but it is necessary to have both physical and personality traits that distinguish them.

Rosalind dresses as a boy (Ganymede) but Celia remains in women's clothes, though dressed in rustic mode as a shepherdess, to maintain their disguise as forest dwellers. Rosalind also mentions being "more than common tall" which suggests Celia is shorter; this also suggests a slightly more masculine demeanor in Rosalind, who, as Ganymede, speaks boldly to men and has no trouble convincing others that she is a man. 

Celia teases Rosalind/Ganymede when she mentions seeing Orlando, and when Rosalind, regressing to an excited, feminine flurry of emotional excitement, bombards her with questions, she replies: "You must borrow me Gargantua's mouth first. 'Tis a word too great for any mouth of this age's size." This again suggests a physical difference in size between the two, and suggests a casting decision to be made with Rosalind being played by a taller actress.

When Rosalind speaks to Orlando about her sister's love for his brother, she is suggesting parallel connections among the four: "Your brother and my sister no sooner met but they looked, no sooner looked, but they loved," etc. and in this way also emphasizes the immediate attraction between Rosalind and Orlando (and Orlando's more latent "attraction" to Ganymede, portrayed as male bonding). 

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Compare the characters of Rosalind and Celia in As You Like It.

Rosalind starts out with a secondary role demonstrated by the fact that Celia is the one who verbally encourages Orlando while he is wrestling Charles. After Rosalind is exiled by the Duke, she takes charge and makes decisions for her escape to Ardenne Forest and for her safety, plans for which encompass Celia who chooses to go into voluntary exile with Rosalind.

In Ardenne Forest, Rosalind, as Ganymede, a name taken from Greek mythology, is in the male position that is free from anxiety and worry because she is dressed as a man. Rosalind's natural superiority of mind is given full play in her interactions with Silvius, Phoebe and Jaques. One wonders if she would have so bold in speaking her mind and giving instructions if she were still clothed as a wealthy woman.

Though Celia dominates at first, she slips into a quieter, supportive role when she and Rosalind enter Ardenne Forest as Ganymede and Aliena, a role that is necessary to insure their continued safety. Nonetheless, even this quiet role is a powerful one. It is she who buys the cottage and sets up housekeeping. However, since her role and power are quiet and in the background, there is less to say about her.

Comparing these two women brings up the obvious questions of women's safety, women's wit and intelligence, women's ingenuity and capability, and women's friendship. In all of these Celia and Rosalind have equal concern and equal measure. In fact, in regard to safety, they take turns with Celia being protective of Rosalind in the beginning of As You Like It and Rosalind, disguised as the man Ganymede, taking over the protecting role while in Ardenne Forest.

Other less obvious questions are also brought up. One of these questions is the relationship between public power and voice: Can you only have public power if you have the right to speak up, as a man does, as Ganymede does? Another is the value given to silent private power: Is quiet (voiceless) private power of equal value as public power? Another question is whether suppression of the voice (the right to speak up on any or all topics in any or all places) correlates to the suppression of intellect and personality?    

(It is interesting to note that some contend that once the women are in Ardenne Forest they are safe and the need for their disguises is dissolved, however, this is an illogical assumption. As we can be see from the play, there are frequent male travelers, there are whole bodies of male exiles, there are poor people who might look kindly at sharing wealth without being invited to do so by way of stealing. There is no reason to think that Shakespeare believed Rosalind and Celia would be safe as women once they were in Ardenne Forest.)

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Compare Rosalind and Celia.

Rosalind and Celia are cousins, both members of the royalty. Though they have similar backgrounds and upbringings, Rosalind is much more adventurous and unconventional than Celia is.  They are very close - so close that Celia sides with her cousin and defies her father to be with Rosalind. Celia is neither as smart nor as witty as Rosalind, but she is kind and loyal and willing to go along with Rosalind's scheme to sneak out of court and join Duke Senior in the Forest of Arden, where he holds court since he has been banished by his brother, Celia's father.

Celia would like to be as brave as Rosalind, and she does make an attempt, but she is not as well-suited to the outdoor life of a shepherdess as she thought she would be. She discovers her own kind of bravery in the process of following in Rosalind's footsteps, but still lets her cousin take the lead.

In the end, she marries Oliver, the brother of Rosalind's love Orlando, and Shakespeare ends the play leaving the audience with the sense that the two young women will remain close friends.

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In As You Like It, what is the relationship between Celia and Rosalind?

In Shakespeare's As You Like It, Rosalind and Celia are cousins. Rosalind is the daughter of Duke Senior, who has been deposed and exiled to the Forest of Arden by his younger brother, Duke Frederick, who is Celia's father.

Rosalind and Celia are also best friends and nearly inseparable.

In act 1, scene 3, Duke Frederick calls Rosalind a traitor and banishes her from his court for no reason other than that she is his brother's daughter and is supposedly a bad influence on Celia. Celia protests that if Rosalind is a traitor, so is she, and if Duke Frederick banishes Rosalind, he should banish her as well.

CELIA: . . . if she be a traitor,
Why so am I: we still have slept together,
Rose at an instant, learn'd, play'd, eat together;
And wheresoe'er we went, like Juno's swans,
Still we went coupled and inseparable. . . .

DUKE FREDERICK: . . . Firm and irrevocable is my doom
Which I have pass'd upon her;—she is banish'd.

CELIA: Pronounce that sentence, then, on me, my liege:
I cannot live out of her company. (1.3)

Once Rosalind is banished, Celia is determined to go with her, wherever she goes.

CELIA: Say what thou canst, I'll go along with thee.

They decide to disguise themselves, and together they go to find Rosalind's father, Duke Senior, in the Forest of Arden.

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What is a character comparison of Rosalind and Celia in the play As You Like It?

I can give you some ideas to get you started on your comparison of Rosalind and Celia that you can use along with your own thoughts about the two characters.

Celia and Rosalind are, of course, cousins - both privileged, much-loved only daughters of men who are leaders. Though Celia's father has usurped the position of Rosalind's father, banishing him to the forest of Arden, she and Rosalind are still very close friends, almost like sisters. They are both loyal to their fathers, though Celia has not really come to terms with what her father has done to her uncle. Where they differ, however, is in the way that they express themselves. Rosalind is a leader; she is independent, stubborn, and intelligent. She knows what she wants, and she is not afraid to pursue it. When her uncle banishes her, she immediately decides to disguise herself as a boy and go find her father.

Celia is more of a follower. She is a little bit ditzy, but very sweet and easygoing. She decides to go with Rosalind, dressed as a lower-class young woman, but Rosalind is the one who is clearly in charge. Celia has her own kind of bravery in that she is willing to defy her father and go with her cousin, but she does let Rosalind take the lead. The two young women are great foils for each other; their personalities work well together. Celia's caution balances Rosalind's hot-headedness.

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