Exploring Gender and Identity in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”

Write a 2000-word research essay in MLA format.
Thesis: In Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’, the exploration of gender and identity through the character of Rosalind challenges traditional societal constructs, revealing the fluidity of gender roles and the complexity of human identity. This paper aims to analyze how Rosalind’s cross-dressing not only serves as a plot device but also functions as a means of subverting gender norms, offering insights into Shakespeare’s portrayal of gender dynamics and its relevance in contemporary discourse on gender and identity.
– Thesis Statement: The essay has a clear argument concerning the historical and / or literary elements of Shakespeare’s plays.
– Quoting Passages: The writer cites at least three passages from ‘As You Like It’ and provides the following: 1) a summary of the meaning of the passage; 2) a careful analysis of the meaning of the passage, explicating keywords, identifying arguments in the passage or clarifying the use of imagery and metaphor; 3) the writer shows how this passage supports the main argument of the essay.
– Central Focus: The writer consistently develops a central focus in which the body paragraphs support and demonstrate the main idea and argument asserted in the thesis.
– Content: The writer makes connections between textual support from at least one of the plays by Shakespeare that we covered in class. The essay moves beyond plot summary (WHAT happens) and analyzes the WHY. The writer has expressed unique insight, and depth of thought, resulting in a convincing and enlightening paper.
– MLA Documentation: The essay is MLA formatted, uses correct in-text citations, and includes a works cited page.
-Research of Shakespeare’s Plays: The essay has cited authoritative literary scholars, introducing their sources and clarifying their credibility. The essay also explicates key points cited from this research and demonstrates how the research supports the thesis in the essay.
-Conventions: Grammar, spelling, subject/verb agreement, punctuation, usage (limited “to be” verbs)
Paper structure:
I. Introduction
A. Background information on Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”
B. Brief overview of the thesis statement
C. Significance of exploring gender and identity in the play
II. Literature Review
A. Previous scholarly work on gender and identity in Shakespearean literature
B. Key themes and motifs related to gender in “As You Like It”
C. Relevant critical interpretations of Rosalind’s character and her gender identity
III. Historical Context
A. Societal attitudes towards gender roles during Shakespeare’s time
B. Analysis of how gender was constructed and perceived in Elizabethan England
C. Connection between historical context and the portrayal of gender in “As You Like It”
IV. Gender and Identity in “As You Like It”
A. Introduction of Rosalind’s character and her decision to disguise herself as Ganymede
B. Examination of how Rosalind’s cross-dressing challenges traditional gender roles
C. Analysis of other characters’ reactions to Rosalind’s gender disguise
D. Discussion of Rosalind’s exploration of her own identity while in disguise
V. The Fluidity of Gender Roles
A. Exploration of how Shakespeare portrays gender as fluid in the play
B. Examination of other instances of cross-dressing and gender ambiguity in “As You Like It”
C. Discussion of the implications of gender fluidity for understanding the characters and the society depicted in the play
VI. Contemporary Relevance
A. Comparison between gender dynamics in “As You Like It” and contemporary society
B. Analysis of how the play’s themes of gender and identity resonate with modern audiences
C. Discussion of the continued relevance of Shakespeare’s exploration of gender fluidity
VII. Conclusion
A. Summary of key findings and arguments presented in the paper
B. Restatement of the thesis and its significance
C. Suggestions for further research on gender and identity in Shakespearean literature

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