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William Shakespeare

Love is a powerful force. As has been said, its strength can figuratively move mountains. It conquers all forces of nature and all aspects of creations particularly the human souls and emotions towards the creation and the building of a new horizon, a new dimension and a renewed dream in a person’s life. Many literary works speak about the mystery of love and its effect among mankind. The play by William Shakespeare entitled ”As You Like It” written during the Elizabethan period is centered on love, how it shapes and works for the different characters in the play.

Even if some characters portray deception, pain and vengeance, but love has still dominated the undesirable events that happened in the story. The core message of the story therefore tells that love, however oppressed and belittled it may be, is a strong and unconquerable force that finds its way towards the attainment of happiness. The characters in the story are considered “dreamers”. Dreams are aspirations that are greatly desired. Dreams are thoughts and ideas which can be made tangible through hard works and determination coupled with the right attitude.

As humans, the characters in the play set goals for themselves to achieve. These goals become their dreams which they desire most to reach and attain. Rosalind, the main character in the story, tries hard to visualize her dreams in life. Guided by her independence, strength, kindheartedness and intellect, she takes control of her life, her destiny in order to pursue her dream, dream of being together with those she loves, particularly Orlando, her love interest in the play and Duke Senior, her exiled father. Orlando, on the other hand, pursues to materialize his dream of finding Rosalind, the woman whom she has dearly loved.

Both Rosalind and Orlando dream of a happy life, being happily together even if they lack material things and luxuries. Orlando, after having learned from Adam about the evil plan against him of his brother Oliver, decides to flee in the forest of Ardenne. Though he experiences hardships and difficulties while on exile, he never gives up living and fighting for life. His optimism and great love for Rosalind becomes his driving force to go on. This is evident in his words expressed to Adam urging him to fight for life and courageously combat the physical pains and difficulties as presented in this dialogue: Orlando: Why, how now, Adam!

no greater heart in thee? Live a little; comfort a little; cheer thyself a little. If this uncouth forest yield any thing savage, I will either be food for it or bring it for food to thee. Thy conceit is nearer death than thy powers. For my sake be comfortable; hold death awhile at the arm’s end: I will here be with thee presently; and if I bring thee not something to eat, I will give thee leave to die: but if thou diest before I come, thou art a mocker of my labour. Well said! thou lookest cheerly, and I’ll be with thee quickly. Yet thou liest in the bleak air: come, I will bear thee to some shelter; and thou shalt not die for

lack of a dinner, if there live any thing in this desert. Cheerly, good Adam! (Scene VI. In the Forest) It can be noted that in Orlando’s dialogue, Shakespeare uses the words foods to feed Orlando’s hunger as a representation of a deep longing for someone dearly loved. Shakespeare makes an analogy in this particular passage. He presents that hunger for food is a symbolism for a desire and need for a loved one. In here, Orlando is presented as a brave and strong person who will not easily retreat before hardships and trials encountered in life in pursuit of his dream but instead will give them a strong fight.

He is depicted as an optimistic and highly spirited person. Rosalind’s aspiration for a partner in life whom she can share her happiness with is explicitly expressed in her dialogue with Orlando. Rosalind, disguised as a young man named Ganymede, challenges Orlando of his love for her that must be manifested through marriage as stated in these lines. Rosalind: Believe then, if you please, that I can do strange things: I have, since I was three year old, conversed with a magician, most profound in his art and yet not damnable. If you do love Rosalind so near the heart

as your gesture cries it out, when your brother marries Aliena, shall you marry her: I know into what straits of fortune she is driven; and it is not impossible to me, if it appear not inconvenient to you, to set her before your eyes tomorrow human as she is and without any danger. (Scene II. The Forest) In this particular passage, Rosalind is presented as a woman of intellect and wit who can do amazing acts even at a very young age. She has the capability to think and devise ways in order that events and things will be in her favor.

As the story unfolds, Rosalind is seen responsible for the change of attitudes of the characters in the play. Her character demonstrates the real meaning of love, that love has the power to change and correct the wrongs committed. This indirect proposition that Rosalind presents as a sort of challenge to Orlando reveals that she also loves him so much. She just disguises herself as a young man not to fool Orlando but to protect herself from being captured by Duke Frederick’s men. Through this scheme, she is also able to know the real feelings of Orlando towards her. Rosalind believes in the sanctity of marriage.

As depicted, she values marriage as a binding force between a man and a woman who will profess and eternally seal their vows of love. With this belief, she becomes instrumental in the marriages that happened in the story: Phoebe and Silvius, Celia and Oliver and Touchstone and Audrey. Rosalind’s desire for marriage is further expressed in these lines: Rosalind: By my life, I do; which I tender dearly, though I say I am a magician. Therefore, put you in your best array: bid your friends; for if you will be married to-morrow, you shall, and to Rosalind, if you will. (Scene II. The Forest) Love indeed conquers all.

It is boundless and timeless. It happens anywhere and anytime. Whatever form and shape it takes, whosoever expresses and receives it, whenever and wherever it happens, love will always find a way to delight, inspire, teach, guide and bring happiness to everybody who believes in it. As the story simply tells, the real essence of love is manifested by people who value it. As has been said, it is an unconquerable force that helps build dreams for people to achieve.

Reference

Shakespeare, William. As You Like It. Retrieved 06 Nov 2008, from Shakespeare Homepage: http://shakespeare. mit. edu/asyoulikeit/full. html

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