Shakespeare's "As You Like It" Part 2: Characters and Questions


As You Like It is one of Shakespeare’s most beloved romantic comedies. It is also his most daring exploration of sex, gender, and identity. In the Forest of Arden, Rosalind flips the script of romantic convention and pursues the man she loves — while she is disguised as a man. In this course, you’ll learn the story of As You Like It, unpack the complex games it plays with gender and performance, and hear the play’s key speeches performed and analyzed by world-class Shakespearean actors and literary scholars. Part 2 addresses the play's central questions by examining its structure, literary context, and main characters. With Dr. Will Tosh, you’ll discover how Shakespeare blended different literary traditions to create the exploratory space of Arden, to investigate questions of identity, gender, and same-sex desire, and to afford his characters new kinds of freedom. You’ll explore the play’s performance history and the questions it has always raised around gender roles, and learn why Rosalind carries out her courtship in her male disguise.

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Zachary Davis

Zachary Davis is the host of Ministry of Ideas and Writ Large and the Editor-in-Chief of Radiant.

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