Rosalind and the Masks
With this essay I would really like to focus on Rosalind's - or rather Ganymede's - preoccupation with the outward tv show of things. Whether this is a consequence of her cross-dressing, the reason for the same, or the playwright's way of exposing his presence is not as yet clear to me, but Rosalind's constant insistence on the real truth of goggles and on the other hand her readiness to doubt a similar truth fascinates me.
When your woman decides to dress up as a boy, Rosalind generally seems to think a mannish outside the house sufficient to convince the earth at large (I. iii. 111-118). She is "more than prevalent tall" and thus all your woman needs is actually a "gallant curtle-axe", a "boar spear" and a "swashing and a martial outside" to hide her feminine nervousness. Taking that for granted that noone may have the impression to seem beyond her male outfit, she reasons that since cowardly males are able to conceal these female qualities, she should be able to go off being a man, by just behaving mannishly.
Being so totally dependent on her own cover not being found, it is funny how the girl proceeds to doubt anyone who does not placed on an to the outside show appropriate to their claims to sense. The first to be put on the wait in this fashion can be Orlando. As Ganymede Rosalind refuses to acknowledge Orlando's claims to being the desperate writer of the love-verses (s)he finds hanging on the trees on the grounds that he is without visible represents of love upon him.
A low fat cheek, that you've not; a blue attention and sunken, which you have certainly not; an unquestionable spirit, which you have not; a beard neglected, which you have certainly not (... ) Then your hose should be ungartered, your bonnet unbanded, your sleeve unbuttoned, your footwear untied, and everything about you demonstrating careless desolation. (III. ii. 363-371)
He could be, in other words, certainly not exactly the photo of the despairing suitor. Neither does Jaques measure up to Rosalind's expectations of the melancholy traveller. The girl greets him with a "they say you are" (IV. i. 3), and sends him off with the order of:
Look you lisp, and wear strange suits; deactivate all the benefits associated with your personal country; become out of affection with your nativity, and almost chide God for making that countenance you happen to be; or I will scarce think you have swam in a gondola.