As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare. It is thought that the play was written between 1599-1600, because it was published in the first folio. The play is based on the early prose romance called Rosalynde by Thomas Lodge. We do not know when the play was first performed, but it is suggested that a performance at Wilton House took place in 1603. The play had a heroine called Rosalind, who runs away from her persecution in her uncle's court. Her cousin Celia and the court jester Touchstone run away with her, giving her company. They find safety and fall in love in the Forest of Arden. Critiques cannot come to a consensus about As You Like it; some of them think that this comedy is of lesser quality than other works of Shakespeare, whereas some claim that the play reveals Shakespeare's wit completely.
This play includes one of Shakespeare's most famous and oft-quoted speeches, "All the world's a stage." Also, this play is the origin of the phrase "too much of a good thing." In general, the play is the favorite Shakespeare play of the audiences and has been filmed and performed as a musical.
What happens in the play?Edit
The play is set in a duchy in France. A duchy is a place that is the territory of a duke or a duchess. However, most of the plot takes place in the area called the Forest of Arden. It is believed that Arden is the actual name of a forest that is close to Shakespeare’s hometown: Stratford-upon-Avon. Some editions of the play change the name into Ardennes, and publish the play by using that name. These people believe that Arden is the Englishified version of Ardennes, which is a forest region in France. Other editions keep the original word, claiming that the pastoral setting created by Shakespeare shows that this is a fantastical world, and that the accurate geographical details are not important. Some people also believe that the name comes from the biblical Garden of Eden, as the play tackles the Christian religion and its philosophies. Furthermore, it is known that Shakespeare’s mother’s name was Mary Arden, so it is claimed that the name of the forest is a pun referring to the Bard’s mother.
There are many, many characters.
'"All The World's a Stage'" MonologueEdit
This monologue is from Act 2, Scene 7 (Lines 139-166) of the play:
- "All the world's a stage,
- And all the men and women merely players;
- They have their exits and their entrances;
- And one man in his time plays many parts,
- His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
- Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;
- And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
- And shining morning face, creeping like snail
- Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
- Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
- Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
- Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
- Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
- Seeking the bubble reputation
- Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
- In fair round belly with good capon lin'd,
- With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
- Full of wise saws and modern instances;
- And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
- Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
- With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
- His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide
- For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
- Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
- And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
- That ends this strange eventful history,
- Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
- Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”
This monologue is spoken by the character called Jaques. The speech revolves around a central metaphor, and tells that a person's life is made up of seven parts. The metaphor is a person's lifespan being a play in seven acts, in other words, ages. The first act starts as an infant that mewls and pukes in the nurse's arms. After describing each age very vividly, the speech ends with the oldness of a person, calling the old age a "second childhood." Oldness is depicted as a damned age because of the helplessness and oblivion it causes, leaving the person without teeth, without eyes, without taste...and without everything.