The Place of a Cousin in As You Like It.

Crawford, Julie A.

“The Place of a Cousin in As You Like It” argues that the relationship between Celia and Rosalind at the center of the play exemplifies the public countenancing, ethical utility, and social primacy of oath-based friendship between women – particularly women cousins. “Cousin” was not only a kinship term, but one particularly endowed with affective, and even erotic, meanings—an enhancement of intimacy beyond the more capacious “friend” and condensed in the potent single syllable “coz.” When Celia tells the banished Rosalind, “Say what thou canst, I’ll go along with thee,” she echoes Ruth’s famous words to Naomi in the Book of Ruth: “For whither thou goest, I wil go,” highlighting the play’s abiding interest in chosen kinship between women, and the role of these bonds in creating the webs of kinship that characterized early modern life.


Also Published In

Shakespeare Quarterly

More About This Work

Academic Units
English and Comparative Literature
Published Here
February 1, 2021