Related to Act1, Scene 1. Write brief note on a. The theme of envy b. Contrast between city life and country life.

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In Act 1, Scene 1 of As You Like It Shakespeare uses the examples of two sets of brothers to examine the theme of envy.  Orlando and Oliver are the sons of Rowland de Boyes. Oliver, the elder, has inherited his father's estate and has been entrusted with the care of his younger brothers. Jacques he sent to school in the city, but he hates and envies Orlando and treats him badly. Even so, the people love Orlando and that makes Oliver even more jealous. He plans to see Orlando killed in a wrestling match, but Orlando wins the match.

In a similar fashion, the brothers Senior and Frederick are at odds, yet in this case, it is the younger who usurps the elder. Frederick is envious of his brother's holdings and his people's love for their Duke. He thinks if he steals his brother's place, he will be proven the better man. Instead, Senior's people follow him to the Forest of Arden, where he is in exile, just to stay in his presence.  Both jealous brothers' plans backfire.

Country life, especially the pastoral life is privileged over city life in this play. The Forest of Arden is depicted as a wonderful, lovely place; the courtiers do not mind being away from the city. In fact, they seem to prefer it, and the Duke really loses nothing except a house.  Country life is portrayed as more innocent, with less sceming. The people are honest and not manipulative as they were at court. Of course, this is a romaniticization that bears little resemblance to reality.  Country life in Shakespeare's time would have been hard, but, with the plague and other ills of the city, it might have been a little easier to stay healthy.

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As You Like It

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