What is the importance of Act 1 in As You Like It?

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

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It seems that the main importance of Act I of this tremendous comedy is to introduce the main characters and the central conflicts that they face. In particular, notice how the concept of pairings is introduced, as we have two courts, headed respectively by Duke Senior and Duke Ferdinand. In addition, we have two other feuding brothers in the form of Orlando and Oliver and then the friendship of the two daughters of Duke Senior and Duke Ferdinand in the characters of Celia and Rosalind. As Act I develops, we see how the feud between Duke Senior and Duke Ferdinand is mirrored by the animosity between Oliver and Orlando. As Orlando is forced to leave the court and seek safety in the Forest of Arden, so Rosalind likewise has to flee the court. Both of these characters are accompanied by a faithful servant or friend in the form of Adam and Celia. Thus it is that Act I plays an important role in introducing the characters and the conflicts of the play, and in addition the concept of pairing.

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