Thursday, June 25, 2009
As You Like It by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare must have been a strange man to be around. Plays like King Lear, or Macbeth, are so dreary, so doom-laden, filled with a sense of the tragic foolishness of humanity. As You Like It, on the other hand, is one of the most life-filled, life-affirming plays I've read. Everything in this play glows and dances as you read it.
I have to confess a particular affection for Rosalind (and the actress who played her in the Librivox reading of this play is particularly great), who was a fascinating figure. What a wonderful character! It's amazing to me, actually, that since Taming of the Shrew has been made into a teen movie, that this play hasn't - gender confusion, young love, arguments with one parent, and another parent who reads like an old hippie, this play has it all.
A little note on the side: one thing I'd love to pay more attention to the next time I read this play, is Shakespeare's opinion on women - and not necessarily because I agree with it. Honestly, it's a little hard to figure what it is that he does think of women. Rosalind, in particular, offers a strange contrast: on the one hand she gives long diatribes while dressed as a man, on how horrible and fickle and flighty women. An then, at the same time, the evidence of the play seems to say the exact opposite. The man she loves? Not the sharpest tack in the corkboard. She, on the other hand, though deeply in love, maintains a sense of self throughout the whole play (despite her having to pretend to be a different self for the majority of the action). What is it Shakespeare thought? And what was he trying to say?
By the way - why don't women dress in period drag more often? A doublet looks much better on a female than a male body... ;)
PPS - Doesn't that picture look like Jodi Foster and Robert Downey Jr?