What is the role of nature in as you like it?
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As You Like It finds its origins in the pastoral tradition of the Renaissance in which the rustic field and forest provides a sanctuary from urban or courtly issues. The play itself takes place in a forest where the characters are hiding from treachery at court or injustice in the family. Pastoral works have most frequently been used as social criticisms due to their ability to question the natural world versus the artificial manmade world. The characters often discuss whether life in the country is preferable to that of the city, usually focusing on such evils as cruel mistresses or the dishonesty of courtiers for themes. The simplicity of the countryside is always celebrated in a highly artful manner, imitating the Western literary tradition as it has developed over time. Indeed, the pastoral genre provides authors with a way to pretend; the characters immerse themselves in another world and can act out their ideal worlds.