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As You Like It

As You Like It

Analysis: Booker’s Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Comedy

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type :

Imprisonment

Duke Senior is banished to the forest; Rosalind lives with her mean uncle who's high on banishment; Orlando's brother Oliver would like to see him burnt alive in the house they share.

Most of our main characters start off in rather compromised situations, as prisoners of their fate kept by hosts that would rather not have them. In a twist on this traditional stage, the period of unease is further extended when all are basically forced to leave these situations for the unknown. Though they were kept in prisons of a sort, they are being sent to ills they know not of. Still, as Celia comments, this banishment can really be seen as liberation, though initially it's an upset of the relative comfort of their familiar environment.

Characters are Revealed

Orlando is prepared to kill for Adam and later fights a lioness; Rosalind dresses as a man but later faints over hearing that Orlando is hurt.

This process works a little differently in As You Like It than in other comedies. The main deceit of the play relies on the characters not really knowing one other. Rosalind must play at being Rosalind/Ganymede, though one could argue that Orlando learns much more about her when she's Rosalind/Ganymede than he would've if she was just Rosalind the whole time. When she's Rosalind, she swoons with all the usual irrationality of love, but as Rosalind/Ganymede she's free to have the wit and sharpness that she might not have as a lovesick girl. Yet she never loses her feminine side, which peeks through at us when she faints in front of Oliver. Our knowledge of Orlando deepens as well. We see he's not just a lovesick puppy, but can make good on his love, as he does for Adam when he threatens to kill all at the banquet, and again for his brother when he saves him from the lioness.

Finding Your Other Half

Rosalind and Orlando meet after the lioness incident; Oliver meets Celia and falls in love instantly.

The game Rosalind is playing is all well and good until she has her revelation as to how much she really feels for Orlando. She meets him tenderly as Rosalind/Ganymede, but they have to consider the sudden love of their brother and "sister," Oliver and Celia. Prompted by this, and hearing of Orlando's sadness at watching his brother marry without having his own love, Rosalind finally resolves to set everything right by revealing herself. Orlando's definitely the guy for her, and it's time to do something about it, instead of just prancing around in disguise.

Blessed Union

Marriage all around, title restoration, and everything in its right place.

All the folks in love get married, though Touchstone and Audrey and Silvius and Phoebe are a little more dubious as far as the reality of their romance. Either way, everybody in love gets married. Jaques de Boys rides in with the good news that Duke Frederick has changed his ways, Duke Senior can come back to his kingdom (which will become Orlando's eventually), and Oliver and Celia consequently have an estate to return to.

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