Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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For the average student, Shakespeare is a dreaded topic in any English class. Written in old English, Shakespeare is often confusing and quite frustrating to read. Sometimes the trouble comes from lack of effort on the reader's part; sometimes it comes from the simple trouble of understanding the plethora of puns and illusions and strange syntax. Watching the play, as well as reading it, can significantly help clarify the student's understanding of the play. Such is the case with the play As You Like It. Watching As You Like It, coupled with its being read, can add a sense of clarity to the otherwise confusing work.

How does watching the play add understanding to the reading? Put simply, watching the play involves more of the senses: vision and hearing rather than just seeing words on paper. Visualizing the character and his/her actions can be both difficult and taxing.

Actually seeing the character on stage moving and speaking in differing tones can also keep the interest of the person watching. Interest in the story will lead to a more in depth understanding of it. In addition, seeing the costumes of the individual character can give you a different or more enhanced idea of the character than when the play is only read. Audrey, scantily clad with revealed shoulder and thick lipstick, is more easily seen to be quite the bawdy temptress, as Touchstone sees her. While Touchstone's jocular movements and props, such as the feather duster, he carries prove him quite the attention seeker. Duke Frederick and the people living with him all dress dignified and refined giving them a serious and business-like quality. In contrast, the banished duke living in the forest of Arden and his followers, such as William in his overalls and straw hat, dress in mostly relaxed and outdoors attire giving them the façade of backwoods people, adding a humorous quality to there characters. This contrast helps the student get a more in depth understanding of difference between the two brothers, the dukes, and their followers. Being serious and stringent, Duke Fredrick is seen unfavorably and no fun, to put it simply. Light-hearted and whimsical Duke Senior, on the other hand, is looked upon and a friendlier, more peaceful leader.

Both reading and being able to watch the play aid the student in understanding a potentially confusing Shakespearian work. Does it matter which is done first? Possibly, but the fact remains that no matter which order it occurs, the student will obtain a better grasp of the story .