So, You Say You Want a Revelation: Well, You Know…

OK, is it just me or does it bother NO ONE that Rosalind doesn’t reveal her identity to her father upon meeting him in the Forest of Arden, off-stage, between Act Three, Scenes Two and Four of As You Like It?

The situation of her banished father upsets her so much at the start of the play that she tells her cousin,

Unless you could teach me to forget a banished father, you must not learn me how to remember any extraordinary pleasure.
  • I.ii.3-6

Later, Celia proclaims their departure from her father’s court is not mere flight but with a purpose “to seek (Celia’s) uncle in the Forest of Arden” (I.iii.105).

And YET even after a conversation with her father (“much question with him” [III.iv.32-3]), and an embrace (“he laughed and let [her] go” [III.iv.34]), she still doesn’t reveal herself to him?


(other, of course, than it would end the play in the midst of the third act)

Could a subtext contributing to the non-revelation be found in her description of her father to Celia after their meeting:

I met the duke yesterday
  • III.iv.32

“The Duke.”

Not “my father.”

Their relationship is strained at best: when the revelation and reunion takes place in the play’s last scene, Duke Senior tells Celia, “O my dear niece, welcome thou art to me, // Even daughter, welcome in no less degree!” (V.iv.145-6). There are two readings of this line:

“Oh, my dear niece, welcome thou art to me, just as you would be if you were my daughter”


“Oh, my dear niece, welcome thou art to me; just as you are welcome to me, my daughter”

While the first is nice, the second is less than heartwarming… is this why there’s no revelation? because she’s not sure she wants to go back to the old relationship?

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