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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: January ::
Re: Rosalind and Celia
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0192  Friday, 26 January 2001

[1]     From:   Michele Bolay <
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        Date:   Thursday, 25 Jan 2001 12:37:32 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0179 Rosalind and Celia

[2]     From:   David Evett <
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        Date:   Thursday, 25 Jan 2001 13:13:05 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0179 Rosalind and Celia


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michele Bolay <
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Date:           Thursday, 25 Jan 2001 12:37:32 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 12.0179 Rosalind and Celia
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0179 Rosalind and Celia

>I'd be interested to hear responses to this.  How strong, and of what
>nature, is the Celia-Ros bond. Love, lust, close friendship, duty? Of
>course our current responses may not be the same as in Shakespeare's day
>- but I'm not giving the audience any visual clues about Elizabethan
>setting or dress so I really want to find characters that make sense to
>a modern audience.  Someone has suggested that the Celia-Ros thing is an
>immature bond - and that both women later find out about a more mature
>relationship.  I'm not sure whether there's enough in the text to back
>that up - especially when Celia falls for Oliver.

I'm directing AYLI next year, and as part of my preparation I recently
joined SHAKSPER. The first thing I did was to search the archived
discussions for anything to do with the play or its characters, and I
found several very useful (and spirited!) discussions regarding the
Rosalind-Celia relationship and the "are-they-or-aren't-they" debate.
You may want to investigate these old postings first, especially if you
don't get much response due to people being sick of discussing the
topic. ;-)

From all of my investigations so far, this seems to be a popular topic
on both SHAKSPER and in various collections of criticism. But if you're
still stumped, I'd be happy to email you a bibliography of sources I've
found that contain essays regarding the Rosalind-Celia relationship.

Good luck!
Michele Bolay

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Thursday, 25 Jan 2001 13:13:05 -0500
Subject: 12.0179 Rosalind and Celia
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0179 Rosalind and Celia

>I think the whole Celia-Ros thing is stranger than the Orlando-Ros
>thing.  I know of no woman, were she not in love, who would be so
>willing to sacrifice everything - from birthright to bonk - for another
>woman.  My take is that she would have to be in love either with the
>other woman, or with someone else, the latter relationship rendering
>everything associated with the former unimportant.

I can understand this response coming from an actress who needs to find
ways to make sense of the role in terms of her own experience and that
of her audience in order to have confidence in the work she will do on
the stage.  But she and her director need to recognize that *AYL* is not
a direct imitation of early modern English life and experience, either.
It is one of a long series of dramatic and nondramatic texts of a kind
scholars call romances, one of whose primary characteristics is their
striking freedom from the normal ideas of probability.  In actual human
life well-bred girls do not often run away from home and expose
themselves to all the dangers of the wider world.  In romance, however,
they do it all the time, because one of the fundamental principles of
romance is that only by way of such radical situational ruptures can
deep-seated social ills be changed.  We know from all kinds of signs in
the play that the realm within which the young people of *AYL* are
living at the beginning of the work is deeply sick (figuring these
things out might help the players find good ways into this production
that  don't require working up a lot of plausible real-world
motivations).  None of them can look forward to a life there that will
satisfy their needs and allow them to use their gifts fully.  Because
all of them (Oliver less so than the other three) lack real authority to
force changes, their only way out socially and emotionally is to get out
physically.  In the real world, of course, "escapes" like that are quite
likely to lead to worse, not better things: consider drug-sodden
teenagers from rural Ohio selling themselves on the streets of New
York.  But in romance, taking this kind of leap always has desirable
outcomes, not just for the individuals but for the society as a whole.

Romantically,
David Evett
 

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