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Criticism in "As You Like It"?Who or what are the main targets of Shakespeare's...

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moreagadish | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 4, 2008 at 6:46 PM via web

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Criticism in "As You Like It"?

Who or what are the main targets of Shakespeare's criticism in the play As You Like It? Could it be romantic love?

Life at the court and woman in general?...But why? I'm confused...

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jilllessa | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted June 10, 2008 at 6:41 PM (Answer #2)

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I believe that the targets for Shakespeare's are the court and in particular the conventions of courtly love.  In the play, nothing seems to be right at the court.  The evil Duke Frederick rules in the world of the Court. Oliver can paln his brother's death at court.  There at the court, the true love of Rosalind and Orlando can never thrive.  However, out in the forest on Arden, that love can thrive.  Every character who enters the world of Arden emerges with a changed set of priorities about life. They can then bring about change in those at court as Orlando sparks a change in Oliver by his not returning injury for injury.  I also think that Shakespeare is poking fun at the conventions of courtly love which glorify unrequited love over a true loving relationship. Orlando is somewhat ridiculous in the misery of unrequited love, wandering the forest hanging poems in the trees.  According to Shakespeare, speaking through Rosalind, love fulfilled is much more satisfying and noble than love denied.  

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 15, 2011 at 11:45 AM (Answer #3)

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You could use Touchstone and Audrey as one of Shakespeare's key vehicles for critising courtly love. Note the way in which Touchstone can speak the langauge of courtly love, but his intentions and choice of bride show that what he wants is anything but. He recognises that Audrey is a "slut" and says that she will probably be unfaithful after their marriage, but his lust drives him ever onward into her arms.

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