What is the difference between life at court and life in the Forest of Arden in "As You Like It"?
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Much like the difference between the court of Athens and the forest in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," the difference between the court and the Forest of Arden in "As You Like It" represents the difference between the beauty and wildness of nature and the natural world versus orderly life governed by rules at court. In the link given below to the various themes of "AYLI," eNotes discusses the fact that Shakespeare's intent is to entertain his audience, but also to remind them that how they live their lives is up to them. Will they be governed by the orderliness and civilization found in courtly society, or will they be more carefree and wild, at one with nature?
Shakespeare presents both life at court and life in the Forest in a fair light, demonstrating the pros and cons of both. "As the veteran shepherd Corin tells us, 'those that are good manners at the court are ridiculous in the country as the behavior of the country is most mockable at court' (III.ii.46-47)" (from eNotes).
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