As You Like It Essay

‘As you like it’ is a pastoral work and features an interaction between urban sophistication and a simplified vision of life away from the city. The interactions can enrich the experience of belonging but it can have the ability to limit it. Belonging is represented in the text as a dichotomy of court and country. Urban sophistication is personified by the court, which is associated with corruption and oppression. “Let it suffice then that I trust thee not”, is started by Duke Frederick. His interactions with others in the corruption of the court have limited his experience of belonging, which has been malleable by his lack of trust. This also disrupts the Natural Order, which is the physical universe considered as an orderly system subject to natural (not human or supernatural) laws.

Life away from the city is personified by the Forest of Arden. This area is associated with tranquillity and enriched interactions, and often suggests being a remedy to the oppressions and lack of belonging in court. This is seen at the beginning of the play, where Orlando suffers his life unjustly by his powerful brother Oliver, and states that he “knows no remedy on how to avoid it”. Later, his conversation with the wrestler Charles later informs him of Duke Senior’s whereabouts, and Orlando realises the remedy is “in the Forest of Arden…many young men…fleet time carelessly, as they did in the golden world.” The forest acts as a shelter from the corrupted court, however its purpose is to restore the Natural Order between the dichotomy of court and country through the interactions between shepherds of country and the citizens of court. These interactions are represented by the different relationships of love throughout the play, and the forgery of human experience which is seen in both members of country and court.

The rejection of court and lack of belonging is evident in Le Beau’s dialogue to Orlando, following the wrestling match. “you have deserved, high commendation, try...