As You Like It: Theme Analysis

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Theme Analysis

As You Like It is a happy Shakespearean comedy.  The main setting is a forest where people go to escape the dishonesty and politics of court life.  The forest represents the purity of Mother Nature and anyone who goes near it seems to absorb this purity to some extent.  Duke Senior is shown to be the better of the two Dukes.  He and his supporters decide to leave the deception of the court and reside in the forest.  When Rosalind is banished, she and Celia, both shown to be good people, go there as well.  Lastly, Duke Frederick goes to the forest to hunt Duke Senior, and when he reaches the edge he is converted and gives up his title

As You Like It is also a love story with the end of the play showing four different couples getting married.  However, unlike the times in which it was written, the main person directing the courtship is the woman, Rosalind.  Dressed as Ganymede, Rosalind is able to take advantage of her disguise by helping two pastoral characters unite, and also by planning her own wedding.  She even asks her own father if her beau can have her hand in marriage, something that would normally be handled by the male in the relationship. 

Finally, As You Like It focuses on issues between brothers. As often happened at that time, one child received more inheritance than another.  This causes tension between the family members such as Duke Senior and Duke Frederick, along with Oliver and Orlando.  Duke Frederick and Oliver both want to destroy their brothers so they will not have to share the portion of wealth they received upon their father's death.  The play works itself out however, when Orlando saves his brothers life earning his love and gratitude.  When the forest brings Duke Frederick back to his honesty, Duke Senior solves the boy's land dispute. 

As You Like It is a pleasurable play filled with feisty and witty language and unique characters.  Its love of nature, love of falling in love, and love of families makes it easily accessible to all that read or see it. 

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