As You Like It Themes & Symbolism

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Numerous oppositions in As You Like It reveal Shakespeare's partiality toward the pastoral rustic life of Arden forest to life at court. At Duke Frederick's court, disorder holds sway. The deterioration of political authority is the most obvious form of disorder, for Duke Frederick has unlawfully seized Duke Senior's kingdom. This political degeneration is compounded by a more personal disorder, since the dukes are also brothers at odds with each other; this conflict is underscored by the antagonistic relationship of two other brothers at the court, Oliver and Orlando. Arden forest offers a sense of pure, spiritual order in contrast to the corrupt condition of Duke Frederick's court. The journey there is long and arduous; when the characters arrive they are physically exhausted and hungry. Moreover, such threatening elements as the "icy fang" and "churlish wind" portray life in Arden as anything but ideal. The harsh experience of...

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This section contains 820 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the As You Like It Study Guide
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Shakespeare for Students
As You Like It from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.