as you like it: shakespeare


  • Court life and country life[edit] “As You Like It”, Act III, Scene 2, Frederick William Davis(1902) Most of the play is a celebration of life in the country.

  • It is suggested in Michael Wood’s In Search of Shakespeare that the words of Touchstone, “When a man’s verses cannot be understood, nor a man’s good wit seconded with the
    forward child understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room”, allude to Marlowe’s assassination.

  • All the world’s a stage[edit] Main article: All the world’s a stage Act II, Scene VII, features one of Shakespeare’s most famous monologues, spoken by Jaques, which begins:
    All the world’s a stage And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts The arresting imagery and figures of speech in the monologue develop the central metaphor:
    a person’s lifespan is a play in seven acts.

  • Although it is much less “Hollywoody” than the versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet made at about the same time, and although its cast was made up entirely
    of Shakespearean actors, it was not considered a success by either Olivier or the critics.

  • [28] Other musical work[edit] The Seven Doors of Danny, by Ricky Horscraft and John McCullough is based on the “Seven Ages of Man” element of the “All the world’s a stage”
    speech and was premiered in April 2016.

  • [14] For example, Rosalind, although the daughter of a Duke and thinking and behaving in high poetic style, actually speaks in prose as this is the “natural and suitable”
    way of expressing the directness of her character, and the love scenes between Rosalind and Orlando are in prose (III, ii, 277).

  • Through four acts of the play, Rosalind, who in Shakespeare’s day would have been played by a boy, finds it necessary to disguise herself as a boy, whereupon the rustic Phebe,
    also played by a boy, becomes infatuated with this “Ganymede”, a name with homoerotic overtones.

  • Internal evidence In Act III, vi, Phebe refers to the famous line “Whoever loved that loved not at first sight” taken from Marlowe’s Hero and Leander, which was published
    in 1598.

  • A Herbert family tradition holds that the play acted that night was As You Like It.

  • However, it should be remembered Diana is mentioned by Shakespeare in at least ten other plays, and is often depicted in myth and art as at her bath.

  • It has been said that the role of Adam was played by Shakespeare, though this story is also said to be without foundation.

  • In many of the love-stories, it is love at first sight.

  • These songs and music are incorporated in the action that takes place in the forest of Arden, as shown below: • “Under the Greenwood tree”: It summarises the views of Duke
    Senior on the advantages of country life over the amenities of the court.

  • In the forest, they encounter a variety of memorable characters, notably the melancholy traveller Jaques, who speaks many of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches (such as “All
    the world’s a stage”, “too much of a good thing” and “A fool!

  • Thomas Morley’s First Book of Ayres, published in London in 1600 contains a musical setting for the song “It was a lover and his lass” from As You Like It.

  • This principle of “love at first sight” is seen in the love-stories of Rosalind and Orlando, Celia and Oliver, as well as Phebe and Ganymede.

  • Orlando and his servant Adam, meanwhile, find the Duke and his men and are soon living with them and posting simplistic love poems for Rosalind on the trees.

  • William Shakespeare’s play As You Like It clearly falls into the Pastoral Romance genre; but Shakespeare does not merely use the genre, he develops it.

  • The play, turning upon chance encounters in the forest and several entangled love affairs in a serene pastoral setting, has been found, by many directors, to be especially
    effective staged outdoors in a park or similar site.

  • In fact, the epilogue, spoken by Rosalind to the audience, states rather explicitly that she (or at least the actor playing her) is not a woman.

  • [12] Religious allegory[edit] Illustration by Émile Bayard (1837–1891): “Rosalind gives Orlando a chain” University of Wisconsin professor Richard Knowles, the editor of the
    1977 New Variorum edition of this play, in his article “Myth and Type in As You Like It”,[13] pointed out that the play contains mythological references in particular to Eden and to Hercules.

  • As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 and first published in the First Folio in 1623.

  • [15] The dramatic convention of the time required the courtly characters to use verse, and the country characters prose, but in As You Like It this convention is deliberately

  • [14] Shaw affirms that as used here the prose, “brief [and] sure”, drives the meaning and is part of the play’s appeal, whereas some of its verse he regards only as ornament.

  • Date and text The direct and immediate source of As You Like It is Thomas Lodge’s Rosalynde, Euphues Golden Legacie, written 1586–87 and first published in 1590.

  • It seems likely this play was written after 1598, since Francis Meres did not mention it in his Palladis Tamia.

  • Shakespeare would take up some of the themes more seriously later: the usurper Duke and the Duke in exile provide themes for Measure for Measure and The Tempest.

  • The play’s first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility.

  • In 1942, Gerald Finzi included a setting of “It was a lover and his lass” (V, iii) in his song cycle on Shakespearean texts Let Us Garlands Bring.

  • Film[edit] See also: Shakespeare on screen § As You Like It As You Like It was Laurence Olivier’s first Shakespeare film.

  • As You Like It follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle’s court, accompanied by her cousin Celia to find safety and, eventually, love, in the Forest
    of Arden.

  • Rush’s drummer and composer Neil Peart incorporated the passage “All the world’s indeed a stage / And we are merely players / Performers and portrayers / Each another’s audience
    / Outside the gilded cage” into the lyrics for Limelight, from their 1981 progressive rock album Moving Pictures.

  • Harold Bloom has written that Rosalind is among Shakespeare’s greatest and most fully realised female characters.

  • Setting[edit] An 1889 etching of the Forest of Arden, created by John Macpherson for a series by Frederick Gard Fleay Arden is the name of a forest located close to Shakespeare’s
    home town of Stratford-upon-Avon, but Shakespeare probably had in mind the French Arden Wood, featured in Orlando Innamorato, especially since the two Orlando epics, Orlando Innamorato and Orlando Furioso, have other connections with the play.

  • These words in Act IV, i, in Rosalind’s speech, “I will weep for nothing, like Diana in the fountain”, may refer to an alabaster image of Diana which was set up in Cheapside
    in 1598.

  • Shaw liked to think that Shakespeare wrote the play as a mere crowdpleaser, and signalled his own middling opinion of the work by calling it As You Like It—as if the playwright
    did not agree.

  • [5] This line, however, dates from 1593 when Marlowe was killed, and the poem was likely circulated in unfinished form before being completed by George Chapman.

  • Made in England and released in 1936, As You Like It also starred director Paul Czinner’s wife Elisabeth Bergner, who played Rosalind with a thick German accent.

  • The Arden edition of Shakespeare makes the suggestion that the name “Arden” comes from a combination of the classical region of Arcadia and the biblical garden of Eden, as
    there is a strong interplay of classical and Christian belief systems and philosophies within the play.

  • Analysis and criticism Though the play is consistently one of Shakespeare’s most frequently performed comedies, scholars have long disputed over its merits.

  • Pastoral mode[edit] Walter Deverell, The Mock Marriage of Orlando and Rosalind, 1853 The main theme of pastoral comedy is love in all its guises in a rustic setting, the genuine
    love embodied by Rosalind contrasted with the sentimentalised affectations of Orlando, and the improbable happenings that set the urban courtiers wandering to find exile, solace or freedom in a woodland setting are no more unrealistic than
    the string of chance encounters in the forest which provoke witty banter and which require no subtleties of plotting and character development.

  • [4] This evidence posits September 1598 to September 1599 as the time frame within which the play was likely written.

  • Jaques provides a sharp contrast to the other characters in the play, always observing and disputing the hardships of life in the country.

  • The main action of the first act is no more than a wrestling match, and the action throughout is often interrupted by a song.

  • Another Drury Lane production seventeen years later returned to the Shakespearean text (1740).

  • Rosalind Preparing to Leave Duke Frederick’s Palace, ‘As You Like It’ by William Shakespeare, John Dawson Watson (1881) Rosalind, now disguised as Ganymede (“Jove’s own page”),
    and Celia, now disguised as Aliena (Latin for “stranger”), arrive in the Arcadian Forest of Arden, where the exiled Duke now lives with some supporters, including “the melancholy Jaques”, a malcontent figure, who is introduced weeping over
    the slaughter of a deer.

  • Following the tradition of a romantic comedy, As You Like It is a tale of love manifested in its varied forms.

  • Shakespeare also used the Pastoral genre in As You Like It to ‘cast a critical eye on social practices that produce injustice and unhappiness, and to make fun of anti-social,
    foolish and self-destructive behaviour’, most obviously through the theme of love, culminating in a rejection of the notion of the traditional Petrarchan lovers.

  • The 1598 posthumous publication of Hero and Leander would have revived interest in his work and the circumstances of his death.

  • • “What shall he have that killed the deer”: It is another song which adds a lively spectacle and some forest-colouring to contrast with love-talk in the adjoining scenes.

  • [27] In 1992, Christine Edzard made another film adaptation of the play.

  • Orlando, a young gentleman of the kingdom who at first sight has fallen in love with Rosalind, is forced to flee his home after being persecuted by his older brother, Oliver.

  • Jaques, ever melancholic, declines their invitation to return to the court, preferring to stay in the forest and to adopt a religious life as well.

  • Other critics have found great literary value in the work.

  • A film version of As You Like It, set in 19th-century Japan, was released in 2006, directed by Kenneth Branagh.

  • Another form of love is between women, as in Rosalind and Celia’s deep bond.

  • On the basis of these references, it seems that As You Like It may have been composed in 1599–1600, but it remains impossible to say with any certainty.

  • Ganymede says that “he” will take Rosalind’s place and that “he” and Orlando can act out their relationship.

  • George Bernard Shaw complained that As You Like It is lacking in the high artistry of which Shakespeare was capable.

  • Hans Werner Henze, in the first part of his sonata Royal Winter Music, which portraits Shakespearean characters, included “Touchstone, Audrey and William” as its 5th movement,
    in 1976.


Works Cited

[‘0. Dolan, Frances E. “Introduction” in Shakespeare, As You Like It. New York: Penguin Books, 2000.
1. ^ The Oxford Companion to English Literature, edited by Dinah Birch, Oxford University Press, 2009
2. ^ Dusinberre 2006, p. [page needed].
3. ^
Henry V, New Cambridge Shakespeare, Cambridge University Press, page 4, 2005
4. ^ Act III, Sc. 6, 80f. Michael Hattaway (Ed.): William Shakespeare: As You Like It. The New Cambridge Shakespeare. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2009, p. 174.
5. ^
Bate, Jonathan (2008). Soul of the Age: the life, mind and world of William Shakespeare. London: Viking. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-670-91482-1.
6. ^ Dusinberre 2006, Introduction, p. 2.
7. ^ Freedman, Penelope (2007). Power and Passion in Shakespeare’s
Pronouns. Aldershot, England: Ashgate. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-7546-5830-6.
8. ^ Jump up to:a b Gay, Penny (1994). As She Likes It: Shakespeare’s Unruly Women. Routledge. ISBN 9780415096959. OCLC 922595607.
9. ^ Act 4, scene 1
10. ^ Williamson, Marilyn
L (1986). “The Comedies in Historical Context”. In Habicht, Werner; et al. (eds.). Images of Shakespeare. University of Delaware Press. pp. 189, 193. ISBN 0-87413-329-7.
11. ^ Bloom, Harold (2008). As You Like It. Bloom’s Literary Criticism. New
York: Infobase. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-7910-9591-1.
12. ^ Richard Knowles (March 1966). “Myth and Type in As You Like It”. ELH. 33 (1): 1–22. doi:10.2307/2872131. JSTOR 2872131.
13. ^ Jump up to:a b Bate, Jonathan; Rasmussen, Eric (2010). As You Like
It. Basingstoke, England: Macmillan. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-230-24380-4. Reversing dramatic convention, it is the courtly characters who speak prose and the shepherds who court in verse.
14. ^ Shaw, George Bernard (1897). “Shaw on Shakespear”. In Tomarken,
Edward (ed.). As You Like It from 1600 to the Present: Critical Essays. New York: Routledge. pp. 533–534. ISBN 0-8153-1174-5.
15. ^ Gentleman, Francis (1770). “The dramatic censor; or, critical companion”. In Tomarken, Edward (ed.). As You Like
It from 1600 to the Present: Critical Essays. New York: Routledge. p. 232. ISBN 0-8153-1174-5.
16. ^ Pinciss, Gerald M (2005). “Mixing verse and prose”. Why Shakespeare: An Introduction to the Playwright’s Art. New York: Continuum. p. 101. ISBN
17. ^ Sarah Clough. “As You Like It: Pastoral Comedy, The Roots and History of Pastoral Romance”. Sheffield Theatres. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 10 August 2008.
18. ^ Dusinberre 2006, p. 37.
19. ^
F. E. Halliday (1964). A Shakespeare Companion 1564–1964, Baltimore: Penguin, p. 531.
20. ^ Halliday, Shakespeare Companion, p. 40.
21. ^ “Best Shakespeare productions: what’s your favourite As You Like It?” by Michael Billington, The Guardian,
28 March 2014
22. ^ Royal Winter Music – details, Schott Music
23. ^ Michael John Trotta’s setting of “Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind” on YouTube
24. ^ Kane, Tyler (23 April 2012). “10 Great Shakespeare-Inspired Songs”. Paste Magazine. Archived
from the original on 23 April 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2022. … in its heyday of 1981 the band wrote a song about battling with success. “Limelight,” opens up with a paraphrase of a speech in Shakespeare’s As You Like It. The lyrics, which were written
by the quiet-but-undeniably-smart drummer Neil Peart, came after the band’s success with albums like 2112 and Permanent Waves.
25. ^ As You Like It, BBC Radio 3
26. ^ As You Like It (1978) at IMDb
27. ^ Awards for As You Like It (2006) at IMDb
2. Dusinberre,
Juliet, ed. (2006). As You Like It. Arden Shakespeare, third series. Bloomsbury Publishing. doi:10.5040/9781408160497.00000005. ISBN 978-1-904271-22-2.
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