As You Like It

Seeing Love Through Fresh Eyes

Pastoralism as a literary device thrives on the juxtaposition of city life and country life. Pastoralists often stress that the burdens of the city can be alleviated and clarified by a trip into the country's therapeutic environment. A sense of balance and rightness is often restored either through self-reflection or conversations with uncorrupted shepherds. Sojourns to these socially detached regions enable one to "explore ideas and play roles-on one's own terms and for one's own amusement" (Leggatt 192). Through the characters of Rosalind and Orlando in his comedic play As You Like It, William Shakespeare suggests that to find true happiness, one must visit the forest and be freed from worldly constraints. The city life burdens the two protagonists of As You Like It with social customs and conventions, as illustrated by their initially strained and stumbling speeches. Upon extracting themselves from the suffocating urban environment, both are able to openly embrace and develop their love in the Forest of Arden. The lessons learned and the emotions expressed in the forest (sans the restrictions of social propriety and expectation) extend far beyond the forest's edge - they have existed all the while,...

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