Discuss the theme of the court versus country life in Shakespeare's "As You Like It." 

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The Forest of Arden, where most of the play’s action occurs, is a place of refuge for those fleeing the intrigues and deceit of the court. Duke Frederick is the primary spokesman for the virtues of this bucolic realm, while Jaques looks down on the absence of culture. During the course of the play, the countryside is shown to have its own drawbacks, especially for those who try to eke out a living there. Furthermore, the problems of the court follow the very people who try to escape them.

The initial clear distinction between court and country is well expressed by Corin, a shepherd (Act III, Scene 2):

[G]ood manners at the court are ridiculous in the country as the behavior of the country is most mockable at court.

Duke Senior encourages his “brothers in exile” to praise their life in the woods (Act II, Scene 1). He sees only the virtues, and contrasts them with the dangers they have escaped.

Are not these woods

More free from peril than the envious court?...

And this our life, exempt from...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 752 words.)

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