As You Like It Essay Conclusion Example

In Act I, Shakespeare has introduced the principle characters and the problems that face them. The principal protagonists are Rosalind and Orlando, with Celia as a secondary protagonist. The conclusion of Act I sets up their response to their problem. The principal antagonist, from whom the worst troubles stem, is Duke Frederick. He sent his brother and ruler, and Rosalind's father, Duke Senior, into exile by usurping the throne. Oliver, Orlando's brother, is the secondary...

In Act I, Shakespeare has introduced the principle characters and the problems that face them. The principal protagonists are Rosalind and Orlando, with Celia as a secondary protagonist. The conclusion of Act I sets up their response to their problem.

The principal antagonist, from whom the worst troubles stem, is Duke Frederick. He sent his brother and ruler, and Rosalind's father, Duke Senior, into exile by usurping the throne. Oliver, Orlando's brother, is the secondary antagonist without whom a primary subplot couldn't exist: Oliver hates Orlando, for reasons unknown to us, and seeks to kill him.

The problems Shakespeare introduces are Rosalind's rejection and exile by Duke Frederick; Oliver's malicious intent toward Orlando; and Duke Frederick's sudden enmity toward Orlando.

The complications to the problems are that (1) Celia insists on renouncing her father and fleeing with Rosalind, bringing Touchstone with them as they flee to Arden Forest and that (2) Orlando, being warned by Lord Le Beau, fears for his life from Oliver's enmity and Frederick's.

DUKE FREDERICK
    I would thou hadst been son to some man else:
    ...
    I did find him still mine enemy:
    [...]
    ... thou art a gallant youth:
    I would thou hadst told me of another father.

The conclusion of Act I positions the two antagonists as mortal enemies of the protagonists. The conclusion has Rosalind and Celia planning to take up false identities, Rosalind/Ganymede as a man and Celia/Aliena as a lowly peasant girl dependent upon her male companion, Ganymede (both girls took their jewels and other wealth with them so the disguises are additionally critical to their safety). Act II will open with the discovery of the girls' flight, while Orlando's fates wait until Act III for more illumination.

Conclusions aren't easy—but they're very important. And contrary to popular belief, they're not simply a place to restate what you've said before in the same way. They're an opportunity to cast all the arguments you've made in a new light. 

Conclusions give you a chance to summarize and organize your main points, reminding the reader how effectively you’ve proven your thesis. It’s also your final opportunity to make a lasting impression on your reader.

Simple Conclusion Formula 

  • Proper, relevant restatement of thesis statement and strongest evidence
  • Relevant final thought

As an example, let’s create a conclusion following our two-step process.

Let’s say your thesis statement is:

College athletes should not be paid because many receive compensation in the form of scholarships and benefit from more visibility to potential professional recruiters.

Now we’ll follow our formula to write an effective conclusion.

Restatement of Thesis and Strongest Evidence

The first step in writing our conclusion is to restate the thesis statement.

It’s important not to simply copy your thesis statement word for word. You can also briefly include evidence or other points that were mentioned in your paper.

You could write something like:

College athletes don’t need financial compensation because they receive numerous benefits including scholarships, additional experience and coaching, and exposure to professional teams.

This sentence reminds the reader of our original thesis statement without copying it exactly.

At this point, you could also synthesize 1-2 of the strongest pieces of supporting evidence already mentioned in your essay, such as:

With four years of tuition costing up to hundreds of thousands and salaries in potential professional sports careers averaging millions, these benefits already amount to significant compensation.

Notice that we didn’t start with a transition like, “In conclusion,” or, “In summary.” These transitions aren’t necessary and are often overused.

Relevant Final Thought

You want to end your conclusion with a strong final thought. It should provide your reader with closure and give your essay a memorable or thought-provoking ending.

The last sentence of your conclusion can point to broader implications, like the impact the topic of your essay has had on history, society, or culture.

Another good rule of thumb is to allow your final sentence to answer the question, “So what?” Your reader has spent time reading your paper, but why does any of this matter? Why should your reader—or anyone else—care?

For our sample conclusion, for example, you could write:

Providing still more compensation to college athletes would send the message that they are employees, not students. If we don’t want education to be sidelined, college athletes should not be paid.

This concluding sentence answers the, “So what?” question by explaining the potential repercussions of paying college athletes. It gives the reader a reason to be more invested in your essay and ideas.

Putting It All Together

The conclusion reads:

College athletes don’t need financial compensation because they receive numerous benefits including scholarships, additional experience and coaching, and exposure to professional teams. With four years of tuition costing up to hundreds of thousands and salaries in potential professional sports careers averaging millions, these benefits already amount to significant compensation. Providing still more compensation to college athletes would send the message that they are employees, not students. If we don’t want education to be sidelined, college athletes should not be paid.

To create effective conclusions of your own, remember to follow these guidelines:

  • Don’t feel the need to start with overused transitions such as, “In conclusion,” or, “In summary.”
  • Restate your thesis statement in a new way. 
  • You can also restate 1-2 of your strongest pieces of supporting evidence.
  • Don’t mention anything in your conclusion that wasn’t mentioned in the body of your essay.
  • End with a strong final thought, preferably one that answers the question, “So what?”

By following these simple steps, you’ll craft a conclusion that leaves a powerful final impression on your readers.

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