Are the characters changed by the experience of pastoral life

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William Delaney | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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Yes, many of the characters are changed by the experience of pastoral life in Shakespeare's As You Like It. Duke Senior has become a philosopher and a nature lover. Orlando develops into a poet and a lover. Rosalind seems to become more self-reliant and creative under the spell of the forest. Even Touchstone changes from being a court fool into a philosopher and a lover. The most striking changes occur in Oliver and Duke Frederick. Oliver loses his mean spirit, greediness and cruelty partly under the magical spell of the Forest of Arden, while Duke Frederick loses his desire for power and prestige and decides to lead the life of a religious hermit. The main theme of the play might be said to be the transforming power of nature as opposed to the debilitating effect of life in what is called "civilization."

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