Mans gregarious instinct to live in harmony and peace with his fellow man is well illustrated in the two texts, As You Like It and It’s a Funny Kind of Story. In both theses texts the major character experiences a sense of alienation from their worlds for numerous reasons. In the coarse of the action in the two dramas this is apparent alienation will be removed through a greater understanding of the positive aspects of human nature of which Love is the major contributor.
Duke Frederick after usurping and banishing his brother Duke Senior disrupts the harmony of the court creating a setting filled with negative, deceiving attitudes. Duke senior and his loyal lords, seek sanctuary and security in the forest of Arden. There feeling of relief is well illustrated in Duke senior’s Quote : Now my co-mates and brothers in exile, Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are no these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
The Duke series of rhetorical questions here, are couched in Anglo-Saxon and Latin language. The Anglo-Saxon words pertain to the forest of Arden e.g. wood, while the words referring to the court tend to be Latin in origin e.g. envious court. Shakespeare particular choice of language in using words of Anglo-Saxon origin in contrast to words of Latin origin highlight Duke Senior’s sense of comfort in this pastoral setting.
In the Forest the Duke and his group of his loyal companions are joined by Rosalind in disguise as Ganymede and her very close cousin Celia disguised as Aliana.
From this point in the setting of the forest, characters come to together in contrasting ways to illustrate certain aspects of the human condition, which demonstrate the theme of belonging. The main spring of all these contrasting relationship is the catalyst Rosalind who disguised as Ganymede brings about a metamorphoses in the characters of Audrey and touchstone, silvius and Phoebe and even Orlando and herself. Yet Her role has no influence on the melancholy and pessimistic Jacques who with Frederick at the end of the play turn there backs on the a realistic society and repair to a monastery to peruse a celibate contemplative life.
One character who resists the idea of belonging harmoniously in a group is Jaques, who in spite of the profoundness of the 7 stages of man speech ends with nothing. “ sans eyes, sans teeth sans everything.” Meaning at the end of ones life there is nothing, which is in complete contrast to the graciousness of Rosalind’s ideas. Throughout the play Jacques creates a sense of irony, in that in spite of all his knowledge and worldliness as demonstrated in many of his speeches, he turns his back on belonging to society because ultimately he sees there is nothing in life other than preparing ones self for death.
One character employed by Shakespeare has used to demonstrate belonging is Oliver. Oliver is an extremely flawed character in the beginning of the play in that his attitudes toward his brother Orlando is marked by jealousy, greed, envy and power and the notion that he sees the popular Orlando as a threat to his position. His quest to eliminate his brother he comes to the forest of Arden, where ironically he is saved by Orlando and comes to the realization that his brothers selfless courageous action not only saved his life but was instrumental in causing him to realize that brotherly love is much more satisfying than jealousy. Not only does Oliver come to understand the positive aspects of family, he also learns of the restorative power of love through his feelings for Celia disguised as Aliana. Thus Oliver through theses experiences is equipped to more readily indulge in all the fruits of belonging. Oliver in falling in love with Celia a common sheppardess forgets the class based hierarchical, structure of the society, which he has left, and experiences for the first time the value of a person for whom she is rather than what she is. This will...
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