As You Like It: as A Romantic Comedy

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      Romantic Comedy is one of the most discussed and talked about genres of dramatic literature. This type of comedy has fully flourished and developed during the great Elizabethan period. This type of comedy provides the romantic elements engaged with comic materials. The romantic elements delight, thrill, and appeal to two heart and comic elements makes us laugh. Romantic Comedy appeals to our imagination and is emotion-based providing a sense of humor. Generally, this type of drama ends in a happy ending, where the happy marriage between couples takes place uniting various disjoint elements into one fine texture. The unity of time, place, and action may not strictly be followed in such plays.

The world of Romantic Comedy in As You Like It.
Romantic Comedy (drama)

      The elements of romance and comedy have been blended together by Shakespeare. The only feature common between them is love. Love reigns supreme in the comedies of Shakespeare Loves comforteth like sunshine after rain.

      The love between Rosalind and Orlando is real and genuine. The stength of the play lies in this that it is into the heart of this love making that Shakespeare is able to introduce, without cynicism, his most exquisitely balanced piece of irony, at once sympathetic and detached.

Orlando. ‘Then in mine own person I die’
Rosalind. ‘No faith, die by attorney.........

      Troilus had his brains dash’d out with a Grecian club; yet he did what he could to die before, and he is one of the patterns of love, Leander, he would have lived many a fair year though Hero had turned nun, if it had not been for a hot midsummer night.’

      And there is another type of love. How perverse it is! Phebe jilts Silvius and falls deeply in love with Rosalind (Ganymech). Oliver suddenly awakens love in Celia (Aliena), Orlando does not recognize Rosalind (Ganymede). And Touchstone is foolishly making foolish love with poor Audrey. And look at the Phebe’s rebuke to Silvius.

Thou tell’st me there is murder in mine eye
’Tis pretty, sure and very probable
That eyes, that are the frail’st and softest thing,
Who shut their coward gates on atomies
Should be called tyrants, butchers, murderers.

      The basic recognition underlying Shakespeare’s golden comedies is that love, however romantic, exists to make bedfellows and fill cradles; the multiple marriages at the end, bringing the courtly characters to their destined pairing off and also propelling the Dresden figures of Phoebe and Silvius into a human relationship at last, is completed by the earthly coupling of Audrey and Touchstone, and Jaques is wrong as usual when he predicts that their ‘loving voyage is but for two months victuall’d”

      There are four types of love in the play: Even Touchstone the fool falls in love. Love is the center of gravity of the play. “As a lyrical comedy of romantic love in a simple moral context whose basic pattern derives from folklore or at least from popular imagination working on a literary tradition, As You Like It stands supreme.”

      In order that love may have fair play and may develop, there is created in the play congenial atmosphere, and a background suitable for it. There is the forest of Arden where love may run smoothly. In such a place there are no obstacles to love. Orlando writes poems on the bark of trees in praise of his sweetheart, Rosalind, and hangs them on the trees. And Rosalind teaches him how to woo. And because music is the food of love, there are so many lovely lyrics sung by Amiens.

Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me
Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude

      So everything romantic is there in a play. There is a love story, the distance of time and space, a heroine and a hero, and a fool, and magic atmosphere and songs.

      But Jaques is there who satirizes the romance of the play, And the satire of the play is, after all, as much against as for the romantic ideals that the play sets out to expound. Touchstone always reminds of the realities of life. Yet he too loves. So romance and realism meet together. Shakespeare has devised a plot which deals with the lives of the upper class as the chief part of the action, and has included scenes from the lives of ordinary people. There is contrast no less than duplication. Two stories run parallel to each other. Love, revelry, jealousy, greed, revenge and lust for power, which should seem incredible, are believed by the spectators when they find these things repeated in high as weft as low class.

      On the one hand, the different kinds of love affairs heighten the romance, on the other hand they keep the extravagance of romance within limits. The love story of Silvius and Phebe heightens the romance of Orlando and Rosalind. After listening to the frantic love of Silvius, Rosalind says, “Alas, poor shepherd! searching of thy wound, I have by hard adventure found mine own.” Yet the love affair between Touchstone and Audrey coldly disparages the warmth of love in the hearts of Rosalind and Orlando. Touchstone loves, if not the ugly, atleast, the plain looking Audrey. He is ready to marry her without any romantic tinge. He wants his marriage to be solemnized by a bogus priest and is ready to desert her as soon as he marries her. This is most unromantic and realistic. All this keeps the enthusiasm of romance into reasonable bounds. On the one hand there are royal families. The love of high persons belonging to the royal class is remote and romantic. On the other hand, there are Touchstone, Jaques. Audrey and others belonging to the low class. On the one hand, there is exuberant imagination, on the other hand, there are firm grasp of reality, humor and mirth. And all these mingle together in one whole. As You Like It is therefore a romantic comedy. “The fact that its theme is inspired by the reaction against urban life naturally makes As You Like It a comedy as well as a romance.”

      As the world of Romantic Comedy takes us to a world of ideal atmosphere, that is lovelier than the actual world. So in As You Like It the romantic elements transport us to a world of make-believe land of ideal habitation, which appeals mere altering and delightful than the harsh realities of life. The forest of Arden as an ideal place created an atmosphere of love and romance. It is that place where the love between Rosalind and Orlando, Oliver and Celia, Touchstone and Audrey, have all been given they are an ideal setting of romance.

      The major complexities of the play are solved in the happy and colorful land of the pastoral. Also as a Romantic Comedy, all the couples have achieved their happy married life and all the romantic elopements have got their fulfillment. The separated lovers are at the end of the play united with each other. All the loose threads are finally connected in the romantic bosom of the forest of Arden. In this way, As You Like It can be called a romantic comedy.

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