What pastoral elements are present in Shakespeare's As You Like It?

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Pastoral elements in literature contain idealized conventions of a rustic or rural life. Various descriptions of landscape and nature come into play as well as participants in country life (like shepherds). In Shakespeare's As You Like It, the Forest of Arden provides a perfect backdrop against which pastoral elements come alive on stage.

The idealization of pastoral life can be observed in the fact that by the end of act 1 almost all characters in the play abandon the court for the forest. The simplicity of life in the forest appears attractive to the characters, whose lives at court might appear overly complicated in comparison to a life in a more natural environment.

The fact that marriages also take place in the Forest of Arden is evidence of the idealization of the pastoral. Time passes differently in the countryside than at court, which gives time in the forest the quality of a vacation or a holiday. The joyfulness of the wedding celebrations that take place in the forest lead the...

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