Discuss As You Like It as an example of pastoral literature and say what features of the pastoral mode lend themselves to social criticism.
William Shakespeare’s As You Like It is an example of pastoral literature, particularly pastoral comedy, because it features a shepherd’s life, or country living. In the story, the protagonist, Rosalind, escapes the court of her uncle, Duke Frederick, in order to avoid persecution. Rosalind flees to the Forest of Arden together with her cousin Celia and the court jester, Touchstone.
The Forest of Arden becomes the main setting of the story, hence the reason for the play being considered pastoral literature. The Forest of Arden not only serves as a physical backdrop to the action but is also symbolic in nature. The greenwood represents an escape from the hustle and bustle of busy court life. Rosalind fleeing to the forest symbolizes a retreat to an idyllic world, away from the prying eyes of enemies.
The Forest of Arden is an apt representation of an idyllic pastoral existence. The place is like a utopia that provides the characters the peace, solitude, and love that they all desperately seek....
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