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Which two characters express sorrow about the killing of the deer in the Forest of...

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user2356124 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 7, 2013 at 3:36 AM via web

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Which two characters express sorrow about the killing of the deer in the Forest of Arden in As You Like It, Act 2?

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William Delaney | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 7, 2013 at 1:19 PM (Answer #1)

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The two characters who express pity and sorrow for the deer in Act 2 of Shakespeare's As You Like It are the exiled Duke Senior and his Jacques.

Duke Senior says to Amiens and two or three Lords:

Come, shall we go and kill us venison?
And yet it irks me the poor dappled fools,
Being native burghers of this desert city,
Should, in their own confines, with forked heads
Have their round haunches gored.

The First Lord responds:

Indeed, my lord,
The melancholy Jaques grieves at that,
And in that kind swears you do more usurp
Than doth your brother that hath banished you.

Jaques has not appeared yet. The First Lord goes on to describe how the melancholy philosopher observed a wounded deer and "moralized on the spectacle . . . into a thousand similes," comparing the stricken animal to humans who are abandoned by their friends when they get into trouble and ending by quoting Jacques as echoing Duke Senior's sentiments that he and his followers

Are mere usurpers, tyrants, and what's worse,
To fright the animals and kill them up
In their assigned and native dwelling place.

This slight feeling of guillt seems to be the only drawback to the life of freedom and leisure the Duke Senior and his loyal followers are leading. They have little to do but converse and philosophize. As Duke Senior says in his opening speech in Act II, Scene 1, their banishment has enabled them to find

...tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

 

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