As You Like It is remarkable among Shakespeare’s plays for ending with four marriages, something of a record even among comedies. Love is a central theme of the play, although in some of its variations it cannot quite be said to be romantic! The love relationships may, at first glance, appear to be stock types: Rosalind and Orlando representing romantic hero-heroine love, Silvius and Phebe combining love in the lower classes with unrequited love, Audrey and Touchstone a darker attempt to seduce, and Celia and Oliver simple tying up of loose ends. However, Shakespeare makes the theme interesting not just through the sheer variety of relationships that he explores, but also through the unusual elements he brings to each.
The Rosalind-Orlando relationship could be stock hero-heroine love, but for the interest Shakespeare adds by way of Rosalind’s luminous character and the humor of Orlando encountering and being attracted to Rosalind in her guise as a “saucy lackey”, Ganymede. The way in which they meet and fall in love is traditional — Rosalind is won over by Orlando’s manly labors and good looks at his wrestling match with Charles, and performs her feminine office of mercy by trying to dissuade him from what appears to be such a disastrous venture. It is true love at first sight, another traditional feature of such a romance. However, a new dimension is added by Rosalind’s disguise as Ganymede and her suggestion that Orlando pretend to court her. Orlando’s attraction to her in her boyish guise is unexpected and sends the audience into fits of laughter. His gradual progression from a brusque retort to Ganymede’s cheeky question, “I pray you, what is’t o’cloc…
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…liver. The audience will also be greatly amused at the fact that although Celia has been teasing Rosalind ever since she fell in love with Orlando, she herself is not proof to sudden and irrational love. All in all, their marriage is necessary for the comic resolution of the play.
The many love relationships in As You Like It are delightful in their romanticism and the humor that Shakespeare has dashed into each of them, enhancing the happy nature of the play. Various situations of love are explored — true love at first sight, unrequited love, even a hint of homosexuality in Orlando’s attraction to Ganymede and Phebe’s falling for Ganymede, who is really a woman. Their contrasting variety causes them to complement one another in the play’s theme of love and the foolish things it makes people do, making As You Like It both entertaining and romantic.
Extraordinary Potential of Man Revealed in Atlas Shrugged
The Extraordinary Potential of Man Revealed in Atlas Shrugged
Freewill is the tenet on which men founded the United States of America, and the glory of “America the Beautiful” stems from the unlocked potential of its people. The callused hands of the laborers sip from the cup of American wealth, not the lazy plowman demanding government help. The inventor’s mind synthesizes, theorizes, and designs the American dream, not the indifferent, insolent mechanic. The steel will of the industrialists propels the nation to greater heights, not the selfish arrogance of the beggar. The men who carry the weight of the world, Atlas and his proteges, do so by their incredible strength, not because of weakness, just as Ayn Rand asserts in her novel, Atlas Shrugged.
Full of heroes and villains, Atlas Shrugged demands much from an intelligent reader. As global forces scheme to destroy various characters, Rand’s continually acid wit and ironic tone set the stage for the various battles.
One of the central characters in the novel, Hank Rearden, a steel magnate and tireless worker, invents a metal alloy that beats out all other steel alloys on the market. Naming it Rearden metal, Hank plans to storm the marketplace with his life’s work, and make a bundle of money in the meantime. Dagny Taggart, a woman sharing with Rearden a vision of an America run by ingenuity, energy, and hard work, is the Vice-President in Charge of Operation for Taggart Transcontinental, a thriving railroad company. The two join forces, hoping to profit from their genius the old-fashioned way, by earning their fortune.
Unfortunately, America refuses to allow these industrialists to follow their dreams. A creeping disease has infected the spirits of many A…
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…l, purely logical absolutes leave no room for opposites to exist within them, and the defining characteristic of such absolutes are then lost. For example, absolute heat will not tolerate cold, yet how can we describe any heat without some reference to a colder temperature? By giving an example of Rearden’s philosophy that works well despite the uncertainty of life, Rand reaches out to every man who has struggled for ideals.
In reaching out to humanity through “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand strengthened her argument about the basic goodness and extraordinary potential she believed all men could reach. Because this book takes incredible concentration to comprehend, understanding is left to individual effort, and Rand’s permanent lesson for humanity is open to all seek her knowledge.
Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Random House, Inc., 1957.