In As You Like It what are advantages and disadvantages of country and court life according to Touchstone's and Corin's debate?Act 3, Scene 2

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 2, Touchstone touches on some advantages to country life then turns them to disadvantages according to his taste. He describes the advantages of the pastoral rustic country life as being solitude, pleasant fields, a life without fancy foods ("spare").

He then turns these to disadvantages according to his personal taste. He says disadvantages are that the privacy, without social gatherings and multitudes of companions all around, is "vile"; the fields are "tedious" having no entertainments as those at court; the "spare" life without plentiful abundance of food goes "against" his stomach. He also says the manners of the pastoral life are wicked enough for damnation.

Corin, the old shepherd, corrects Touchstone regarding manners explaining quite convincingly that cleanliness is more important in the country pastoral life than fancy attentions. Corin says advantages of country life are that he "owes no man hate," meaning he has no enemies nor knows any villains; "he envies no man's happiness," meaning his success isn't bound up in someone else's failure; "glad of other men's good," meaning he can rejoice when others receive good things because he doesn't covet (wrongly desire) others' benefits; "content with my harm," meaning willing to take his difficulties as they come; and that he is not proud because his greatest pride is not in himself but in the happiness of his sheep.

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As You Like It

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