As You Like It Thesis Statements and Important Quotes

Below you will find four outstanding thesis statements for “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare that can be used as essay starters or paper topics. All five incorporate at least one of the themes in Shakespeare's “As You Like It” nd are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements offer a short summary of “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare in terms of different elements that could be important in an essay. You are, of course, free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot of “As You Like It” or themes to them for your essay. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare at the bottom of the page, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay. Before you begin, however, please get some useful tips and hints about how to use PaperStarter.com in the brief User's Guide…you'll be glad you did.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #5: The Role Reversal of Men and Women in As You Like It

The traditional male and female gender roles are murky in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It. The use of disguises in “As You Like It” and the role reversal begins when Rosalind dresses as a male shepherd, Ganymede, and Celia disguises herself as Ganymede’s sister. Eventually, Rosalind begins to grow into her role, offering love counseling and role play therapy to a love sick Orlando. Rosalind is not the only character with a gender-confused identity, however. Silvius and Phoebe also have a strange relationship in terms of their sexuality and gender identity. Silvius chases after Phoebe like a lovesick school girl, flinging himself at her feet and begging for her attentions, while Phoebe acts as a jaded man, too impatient and important to care about the feelings of Silvius. What is Shakespeare saying about gender roles in this play? Do you think that he is encouraging or discouraging the temporary exchange of roles? Why or why not? For more assistance with this topic, be sure to read this article on disguise and role reversal.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1: Hidden Potential in As You Like It

Throughout William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, there are several characters that have been oppressed, or otherwise denied the ability to reach their full potential. For example, Orlando is kept inside Oliver’s house, without any sort of gentlemanly education or ability to meet noblemen. Oliver is jealous of Orlando, and as such, he keeps the boy locked away from the rest of the world, which leads Orlando to fall into a depression. When he decides to fight Charles, despite the fact that Charles is an accredited fighter, Oliver actually begs Charles to be hard on Orlando and break his neck if possible. Instead, Orlando succeeds in winning the fight, in no small part because of the kindness of Rosalind. This portion of Orlando’s story shows his ability to succeed even when those around him do not believe he can be successful. What other characters in this play are surprisingly successful? What is Shakespeare implying about the underdog in these scenarios?

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: Satisfaction in As You Like It

There are many people in Shakespeare’s As You Like It who have been denied their dreams. For Orlando, he is denied the dream of an education and a life outside of Oliver’s home. For Duke Senior, his usurping brother, Duke Fredrick, has denied him his rights to the throne. Even Rosalind has been denied the things that she wants, such as a life inside the courtly atmosphere, after Fredrick banishes her. However, even despite their circumstances, everyone in the play is happy with what they have. Duke Senior is content living in the wilderness with the men who are loyal to him, while Rosalind is happy living with Celia, pretending to be Ganymede and educating Orlando on love. What is important about being happy with the things that you have, and how is Shakespeare highlighting that theme throughout the play?

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: The Role of Devotion in As You Like It

Devotion plays a key role in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Firs there is Celia, the cousin of Rosalind, who would do anything for her favorite family member. When Fredrick, Celia’s father, banishes Rosalind from the court, Celia knows that she can do nothing to temper her father’s anger, and instead she gathers up her things and flees to the wilderness with her cousin, leaving her entire world behind. Another example of devotion comes in the form of Silvius. Silvius is a shepherd who is in love with Phoebe, a shepherdess who cannot stand him. Instead of allowing her objections to come in the way, he continues to attempt to persuade her through poetry and prostration in the fields. The devotion of both of these characters is eventually rewarded, as Celia ends up meeting and marrying Oliver, and thanks to a trick by Rosalind, Phoebe and Silvius wed as well. Is Shakespeare making the statement that devotion is always rewarded? What other characters in the play exhibit this characteristic and what is their reward for their devotion?

For more assistance with this and other essay topics for “As You Like It” You might find the following article useful: The Role of Disguises in As You Like It and A Midsummer Night's Dream


This list of important quotations from “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare will help you work with the essay topics and thesis statements above by allowing you to support your claims. All of the important quotes from Shakespeare's “As You Like It” listed here correspond, at least in some way, to the paper topics above and by themselves can give you great ideas for an essay by offering quotes and explanations about other themes, symbols, imagery, and motifs than those already mentioned and explained. Aside from the thesis statements for “As You Like It” by Shakespeare above, these quotes alone with page numbers can act as essay questions or study questions as they are all relevant to the text in an important way.

“You know my father hath no child but I, nor none is like to have; and truly, when he dies, thou shalt be his heir; for what he hath taken away from thy father perforce, I will render thee again in affection. (I.i.16-20)

“Yet your mistrust can not make me a traitor.” (I.iii.59)

“Master go on, and I will follow thee To the last gasp with truth and loyalty.” (II.iii.70-71)

“If thou rememb'rest not the slightest folly That ever love did make thee run into, Thou hast not loved.” (II.iv.33-35)

“No sooner met but they looked, no sooner looked but they loved, no sooner loved but they sighed, no sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason, no sooner the reason but they sought the remedy; and in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage, which they will climb incontinent, or else be incontinent before marriage. They are in the very wrath of love, and they will together.” (V.ii.34-42)

“You and you no cross shall part You and you are heart in heart To you your love must accord Or have a woman to your lord You and you are sure together As the winter to foul weather” (V.iv.136-141)

“Within these ten days if that thou be’st [be] found So near our public court as twenty miles, Thou diest for it." (I.iii.27-29)

“I pray thee, Rosalind, sweet my coz, be merry" (I.ii.3)

“Neither rime nor reason can express how much" (III.ii.152)

Source : Shakespeare, William. The Norton Shakespeare. 1. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997.
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