Internet Shakespeare Editions


Marriage: happily ever after?

From the Roxburghe Ballads. University of Victoria Library.

As You Like It ends with a flood* of marriages as Rosalind organizes the couples into neat pairs. But not all the couples are guaranteed happiness: both Hymen (who should know) and Jacques (who is evidently biased) predict varying success for the marriages, especially that of Touchstone and Audrey.

Why does Rosalind wait so long to reveal herself? At any time after her arrival in the forest of Arden she could have ended the suspense (and the play). One thing is certain: while she is disguised as a man she is the most powerful person in the play, in control of almost everyone else. Because of her financial and social position, even as a woman she controls Corin, Touchstone, Phebe, and Silvius. Such power would have been most unusual for ordinary* women in the period.


  1. Matrimonial innundation

    There is, sure, another flood toward [approaching], and these couples are coming to the ark
    (Jaques' comment, 5.4.35-36)

  2. No ordinary woman

    Of course the extraordinary woman of the period with great power was Queen Elizabeth. Click to learn more about her reign.