How relevant is the message in Amiens songs in relation to events in Act 1 and Act 2 of As You Like It?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Amiens' two songs in Act II of As You Like It restate and put imagery to the primary thematic issue of the play. A paraphrase of the first song in Scene V reveals that it declares that the idyllic pastoral life is best and that in such a life, no enemies are met with except the storms that come with rough weather, which is one theme of the play.

The second verse of Amiens' song, as taken up by Jaques, specifies people who forage off the land who are contented with what is ready for the taking, referring to the exiles living in Arden. The third verse, also sung by Jaques is an ironic parody that contradicts the idealism of the first two verses and sneers at the foolishness of leaving the comforts of civilized life for the pastoral pleasures of bird's songs in the forest.

Amiens' second song approaches theme of friendship and loyalty and contrasts the pain of being exposed to storming and freezing weather to the pain of betrayal, forgotten benefit of friendship, and forgotten friendship. The conclusion is that nature's storming ways are less horrible than friendship, love betrayed and love forgotten, which is an important theme in the play.

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As You Like It

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