Is Shakespeare's As You Like It a pastoral romance, and is it a satire on pastoral life or values?

Expert Answers
sensei918 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The answer to both parts of your question is "Yes." As You Like It is both a pastoral and a satire on the pastoral. It is a pastoral because it fulfills the requirements for the category, which are: it pertains to life in the country (since much of the action takes place in the forest of Arden); it depicts country life as more idyllic and desirable than life in the city; and it actually contains shepherds, which are a key component of the pastoral.

It is a satire in that it actually pokes fun at those who think that giving up city life for life in the country is romantic and fun, since life in the country is actually difficult and filled with hard work. Duke Senior, Rosalind's father, isn't in the country because he chose to be. He was deposed by his own brother and exiled to the forest. He's making the best of life, but it seems clear he would rather hold court in his own lodgings than outside.

The royals are playing at being farmers and shepherds. In truth, they do not know what they are doing. This is not to say that their life is terrible in Arden, but Shakespeare is certainly mocking upper class people who think that the pastoral life is quaint and charming.

Read the study guide:
As You Like It

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question