As You Like It (Belonging)

“As You Like It”

The Oxford Dictionary states, the definition of belonging, is to be rightly put into a particular position or class; fit or be accept/able in a particular place or environment; belong, to be a member of; belong, to be the property or possession of.
Throughout the play ‘As You Like It’ belonging plays a major role in shaping the context of what becomes an intriguing and mesmerising story.   During the course of the play all the characters seek to belong, either physically, mentally or spiritually. This to me indicates that most people have a desperate desire to belong in some way.

In the opening of ‘As You Like It’ we are shown a disfunctional and confused society from within the court. Relationships are fractured and families torn apart due to rivalry. For example, Duke Frederick banishes Duke Senior to the Forest of Arden after usurping the throne from him. Duke Frederick then banishes Rosalind because she is Duke Senior’s daughter, but as Duke Senior familiarises himself with the forest he soon finds a new found love for the forest. Belonging can also be related to how a person feels in a particular place. For example, Duke Senior tells us that, even though the Forest of Arden is cold, windy, and rugged, it seems like the Garden of Eden to him because, in the forest, he finds "books in the running brooks, Sermons in the stones, and good in everything".   Act 2, scene 1- Duke Senior. This quote suggests that he is content about being in the forest because as Duke Senior said ‘there’s good in everything’.

The text ‘As You Like It’ also taught me that maybe a sense of belonging can result in contentment and happiness within relationships. Shakespeare has demonstrated this by using the concept of love. The play finishes on a positive note with the marriages of Phoebe and Silvius, Celia and Oliver, Audrey and Touchstone, and Rosalind and Orlando. This leaves us feeling that these characters belong with each other.
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