contrast between Duke senior and Duke Frederick

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The banished Duke Senior, Rosalind's father, is a philosopher, an idealist and a nature lover. His brother, father of Celia, is a realist, a materialist, a pragmatist. Duke Frederick's character probably explains why he was able to usurp the title and possessions of his older brother. It would seem that Duke Senior is a much happier man than his brother even living in the primitive conditions of the Forest of Arden. Conversely, it would seem that Duke Frederick is chronically unhappy and dissatisfied until he has a deus ex machina type of conversion towardss the end of Shakespeare's romantic comedy. Duke Frederick is a minor character in this play. He serves mainly to provide motivations to other characters, especially Rosalind, Celia, and Oliver. Duke Senior, on the other hand, is an important character as the monarch of the little kingdom in the Forest of Arden.

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