Can Body Parts be Physical Props?

Were it not better,

Because that I am more than common tall,

That I did suit me all points like a man?

A gallant curtal-axe upon my thigh,

A boar-spear in my hand, and in my heart

Lie there what hidden woman’s fear there will,

We’ll have a swashing and a martial outside—

As many other mannish cowards have

That do outface it with their semblances.

As our second scene analysis approaches and my research continues, this play was very interesting. The height of the boy actor in this passage is what intrigued me because Shakespeare must have had a specific actor in mind. The height of this boy was crucial to the play’s plot because it allows Ganymede to exist. This “tallness” is an element that the actors use to really act out the play , so it could even be interpreted as a prop. This passage also explores the idea that other objets are needed to explore the forest safely, even as a man.  The necessity of this axe causes me to question whether it is a necessary tool, or if it is just an excuse for Rosalind to further her disguise and really take on the idea of “manhood”. This passage also confirms that Rosalind desires to put on this male role because she suggests the notion. While I found looking at this play through the context of “wood” and the “built environment”, I found the idea of gender fluidity more dominant in the play even before the characters enter the forest, and this passage shows that there was underlying tension before the characters entered the new environment. While this play definitely has its flaws, it was refreshing to see another lead female character dominate the play, even if she was dressed as a man.

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