As You Like It

‘An individual’s interaction with others and the world around them can enrich or limit their experience of belonging.’ Discuss this view with detailed reference to your prescribed text and two other related texts of your own choosing.

Any sense of belonging must arise through the connections we make with others and the world around us. Shakespeare’s play As You Like It, Sean Penn’s 2007 film Into The Wild and Christina Anu’s song My Island Home all demonstrate this concept, and show that belonging is a natural instinct and one fundamental to a meaningful life. Both As You Like It and Into The Wild contain pastoral elements that contribute to belonging as well as portraying that belonging can arise through connections with others. Christina Anu’s song My Island Home successfully portrays belonging through a variety of textual and vocal features. She explores the idea that belonging to a place in the world helps shape our identity, ideology and sense of self as well as depicting how the barriers that prevent belonging can create a need to belong. These three texts all depict aspects of belonging and show that belonging must arise out of the connections we make with others and the world around us.

The setting of As You Like It plays a crucial role in shaping the idea of belonging in the play. Like the typical pastoral, the beginning of the play is set in court, a place established as a hub of corruption and political tension. Orlando’s house is described as a “butchery” as his brother plots to kill him, Rosalind “is banish’d”, and Duke Senior calls courtly life “painted pomp”. This combination of images suggests estrangement and not belonging for these characters in court life. In contrast to this, the Forest Of Arden is a free, untainted setting where characters are able to develop relationships without conforming to the rigid social constraints portrayed in the court. Also, the transition from the high density of formal verse in the opening scenes to the more...