William Shakespeare, As You Like It

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Alison Findlay (Lancaster University)

As You Like It is a seductive title. Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy appears to offer spectators and readers a utopian freedom of choice and satisfaction of desires. At the end of the play however, the Epilogue acknowledges the impossibility of fulfilling that promise. Rosalind invites female spectators to “like as much of this play as please you” according to how much love they bear men. Likewise, she hopes that male spectators who love women will find pleasure in it along with their female counterparts (ll. 9-13). Desires and satisfactions have been marshalled within limits: possibilities have inevitably been closed down within the course of the play, and the reader’s or audience’s desires may …

2959 words

Citation: Findlay, Alison. "As You Like It". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 October 2006; last revised 20 August 2019. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6527, accessed 08 February 2023.]

6527 As You Like It 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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