How is As You Like It a pastoral play?
As You Like It is a pastoral play because it is set primarily in the Forest of Arden, an idyllic natural setting that includes shepherds and shepherdesses. The Elizabethan and Jacobean pastoral depicts an artificial—what the critic Raymond Williams calls an "enamelled"—natural world of common people who do no real labor and courtly aristocrats playing at living the rural life. It does not depict the real world of rural labor but a utopic or counter-cultural space uncorrupted by civilization where alternative ideas can be explored.
Shakespeare's As You Like It is a classic pastoral. Aristocrats, such Rosalind and Celia, the niece and daughter of the evil Duke Frederick, run away to the forest, where they are followed by the aristocratic Orlando and meet up with banished Duke Senior and his recreated pastoral 'court' of followers. Add to the mix the shepherdess Phoebe, who rejects the love of the rustic Silvius, and all the elements of a pastoral are in place.
Shakespeare uses the idyllic world...
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