In act 2 of Shakespeare's As You Like It, what pastoral values and practices does it illustrate? How does act 2 connect with Virgil's Eclogues?

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Act 2 of As You Like It takes place largely in the Forest of Arden, which is a location device known as a "green world" that exists outside of restrictive society, one in which where nature prevails and true passions may arise. This is a location in the tradition of...

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Act 2 of As You Like It takes place largely in the Forest of Arden, which is a location device known as a "green world" that exists outside of restrictive society, one in which where nature prevails and true passions may arise. This is a location in the tradition of "pastorals," which were a genre of poetic writing that took place in peaceful rural settings, portraying simple and cheerful everyday lives. While Virgil's Eclogues are not purely within the model of a pastoral, as they reference events of the time and do not float entirely in a sort of escapist fantasy, they too can be classified as belonging to this tradition.

The green world, or the pasture, has some similar characteristics in each of these works, though their stories overall are very different. Both worlds are, though affected by events occurring in the city, distanced from them. The effect of nature on the characters is one of freedom, of disinhibited expression—where people may speak more freely, more poetically, more philosophically, and more emotionally. This heightening and abstracting of speech can be seen in the riddles in Eclogue 3 and the musings of Jacques in act 2, scene 7.

Furthermore, both Shakespeare's act 2 and Virgil's Eclogues contain several songs each, which are a feature of the halcyon pastoral lifestyle. Not all of these songs are sung purely for pleasure; for instance, Eclogue 3 contains a sort of sung argument, a point-for-point duet, and Eclogue 7 contains a similar song. Meanwhile, Shakespeare's act 2, scenes 5 and 7, contain requests for sung entertainment, which is freely delivered. At any rate, singing is a feature of the green world that is present in both works, which represents freedom and musicality beyond the city's utilitarian speech.

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