Women take the initiative in “As You Like It”

A certain clear-headedness, a frankness enfacing the facts, a power of deciding what is to be done are the peculiar and distinguishing qualities of Shakespeare’s happy women. No doubt, sometimes they breakdown but in public their wit and courage never fail. Shakespeare has shown the superiority of heroines over to the heroes. He has given them more and more honour and has paid them with height compliments. They have knowledge, wit and charm. They can face odds uncounted and have the courage to tide over the toughest situation. Rosalind, Portia, Beatrice, Viola have tribute and charms of their personality more than man to shape the world towards happiness. Shakespeare heroes Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear have intellect, penetrating, imagination, irresistible, passion but these heroes in effect are out of harmony with themselves.

 Significantly, Shakespeare’s women characters have great balance of head and heart. What is more, in every situation they apply their mind to overcome the problems. They don’t hesitate in taking any drastic action but their actions are always supported with logic and common sense. No doubt they are romantic but they are not ever swayed by emotions nor they are attracted by infatuations. Significantly, Shakespeare’s heroines are sensitive intuitive and have nine responsive emotions than the heroes. The common sense is displayed by the heroines has established the fact that they are the real director’s of action and behaviour. In a nutshell they are the sheet anchors of the play and the entire action of the play rotates around the female characters. Whether it is a tragedy or a comedy, the pervading influences of the heroines permeate throughout the play. 

Rosalind, Olivia, Portia have all the gifts of inspiring and of returning affection. The division of Julia, Imogen’s courage, Portia’s wit, Rosalind’s intellectual brilliance establish the superiority of the woman’s characters of Shakespeare. Each heroines of Shakespeare’s comedies has her own intrinsic and charismatic qualities. Shakespeare’s penchant for introducing a variety of characters is seen in his portrayal of women’s characters. we are at once stuck by this difference between Portia and Beatrice. Mr. Jamson finds in Portia’s character all the loveable qualities. The character of Rosalind, Portia, Beatrice, Viola are really the monarch of wit and wisdom. They are at once distinguished by this mental superiority. Portia by her display of intellect and wit compelled Shylock to lick the dust.

In crisis Rosalind, Portia, Viola, Portia and Beatrice are guided by their intuitive insight. Rosalind realises that this world is full of pain and suffering. But, Rosalind overcomes all the odds of her life. She triumphs because of her capability to judge the character and nature of man. Significantly Shakespeare’s heroines are not only doers and inspirers of actions but also take the lead in tackling the problems. Indeed, in As You Like It‘ Rosalind plays a vital part. The play without her character and without her adventures would have become meaningless. Shakespeare has portrayed Rosalind’s character as one of the smartest and the most charming, pains taking and magnanimous of all the heroines. So far the wisdom, wit and presence of mind are concern, her character is super. Infact the initiative quality of her character has been fabulously admired. Although her character is a fine blend of emotions and reason yet she does not allow it her emotions to dictate her reason. Almost all the heroines of Shakespeare’s comedies, Portia  Olivia, Viola and Celia deserve praise for their unique personalities and potentialities. But without a shadow of doubt, Rosalind is the queen among all the heroines. In almost all the comedies of Shakespeare, the women characters not only take the initiative but with the tour-de-force of their wit and intelligence dominate the play and eclipsed the influences and impact of the male characters.


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