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Generally speaking, the use of prose in Shakespeare's plays denotes a different context in terms of character, situation or dramatic effect. In a play such as As You Like It, the differentiation between poetry/verse form and prose mostly has to do with the social status of characters. For example, the shepherds Silvius and Phebe speak in prose for the most part. The implication is that prose is more "low brow" and less sophisticated than the use of verse, and so these simple rustic characters who live apart from "polite" society, or its more educated and wealthy members, would have a less complex, less lofty way of speaking than characters like Rosalind/Ganymede or Orlando, who live among courtiers and wealthy landowners, dukes and other royalty.
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