As You Like It

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade September 2001

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Shakespeare's As You Like It is a romantic comedy premiered around 1599 or 1600. The play is said to be directly derived from Thomas Lodge's famous novel called Rosalynde. As You Like It is a merry play with lots of sunshine, love, laughter and song. The setting of the play moves between two worlds one is the city, which is ruled by Duke Frederick and the other is the forest -the Forest of Arden. Most of the play takes place in the Forest of Arden. The city is depicted as evil, full of hatred, stratagem, deception, and envy. In contrast, the forest is characterized by freedom, beauty and naturalness. The city represents thorny behavior and the forest represents ordinary behavior. The mood of the play is happy and cheerful. The major theme is the importance of love. We see four characters: Rosalind, Celia, Touchstone and Silvius fall in love in the forest.

Rosalind falls in love with Orlando, who is denied his father's will, to breed him well and educate him, by his older brother Oliver. Silvius, a shepherd, falls in love with Phebe, a shepherdess. Oliver, older son of Rowland de boys, falls in love with Celia and last but not the least Touchstone, court's fool, with Audrey. We also see in the play Duke Senior reclaiming his power and Oliver realizing his evilness toward his younger brother Orlando. This raises few questions in my mind, why does the author of the play concentrate on the country life more than the city life? Why does all the pleasant activities happen in the country and not in the city? Since the Elizabethan time, the romantic stories have been idealized as happier and healthier in the country than in the city. Also, the country life is in fact free-...