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Hymen in As You Like It final copy

Hymen in As You Like It final copy - Erin Gray Dr Mitra...

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Erin Gray Dr. Mitra ENGL 3430 4 May 2009 The role of Hymen in Shakespeare's As You Like It The Greek god of marriage, Hymen, appears and marks the climax of Shakespeare's play As You Like It . His presence was odd for pastoral literature and gave rise to several inquiries by the reader or audience as to his role in the play, his effect on the themes and premise, and the connection to the pastoral world that the play created. Pastoral literature largely focuses on the freedom of shepherds away from the corruptions of court life. The exile of the group in the play should have allowed for an escape from the complexities of the city, yet there existed games and intrigues with love and politics that traveled alongside the band that left the court. Pastoral literature additionally includes themes of love and death, and classic themes of Greek myths are often included. As You Like It uses love in a non- pastoral sense as it chronicles the humor seen in the inability of humans to simplify matters while in a rural and naturalistic setting. All ends well, however, as the poorly coupled pairs find their righteous matches and peace through politics is restored. Hymen's arrival marks all of this as order returns after the marriage of the four couples and the Duke's renunciation of evil is recounted to the group. His appearance helps to rejoin the two worlds before the return to court life. Hymen's musical arrival with both Rosalind and Celia in Act V, Scene IV is cause for wonder and amazement by all present. He acts as a servant to Rosalind, explaining nothing of her mysterious appearance to her father and betrothed, but presenting and endorsing Rosalind and asking them for a kind reception. The Duke and Orlando were shocked to see her- the Duke because his daughter had materialized when he had thought her to be at court, and Orlando because the lofty and cryptic promises of the supposed young Ganymede were made true. The arrival of the god Hymen causes the audience to wonder whether Rosalind has supernatural connections, or “what Shakespeare tells us, furthermore, is that Rosalind is perhaps literally capable of being in two places at the same time, on earth and in heaven” (Lewis 182). Rosalind attempts to explain herself to the Duke, Orlando and the
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disappointed Phebe. Hymen interrupts her to “bar confusion” (ln. 125) - which essentially is not doing such, but only making more confusion. In his speech marrying the four couples together, the only explanation the audience will receive is that of the wondrous magic of the pastoral atmosphere, “reason wonder may diminish” (ln. 140). The audience was usually given additional information to which the characters were not privy, would have foreknowledge of the cause of events or the aftereffects, or would have faith that the more mindful women could provide the answers. In this case they had known of Ganymede's identity as Rosalind and Aliena's identity as Celia, however, in Shakespeare's time all of the female roles were played by men: a man playing a woman acting as a man who then reveals herself
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Hymen in As You Like It final copy - Erin Gray Dr Mitra...

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