As You Like It Theme (Time)

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AP English 12 1x
5 December 2011
Time’s Omniscient Control
“Clocks slay time... time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life” (Faulkner 54). Time represents the ultimate decision maker throughout a person’s life, allowing for an individual’s triumph, but also for one’s downfall. In William Shakespeare’s play, As You Like It (1994), this time that destroys and grows may appear to freeze as the characters move into the Forest of Arden, without use or knowledge of time, but it most certainly does not. The fact that time, at least in the long run, will eventually destroy the entirety of one’s life becomes evident throughout the reading. In contrast, many characters within the play imply that time allows for the growth of a single individual or many as a whole. This idea that time acts as the supreme builder and destroyer of one’s life enables Shakespeare to emphasize his thoughts on how little control every person holds over his or her own life.

Time consistently falls under the classification of collapsing and extinguishing the life of every individual. Towards the beginning of the play, Celia expresses her view of time as a rather pessimistic one. Within Rosalind and Celia’s friendly argument, Celia asks a rhetorical question, asking if “Nature hath made a fair creature, /may she not by fortune fall into the fire?” (1.2.43-44). In this instance, the “fortune” that Celia mentions represents time’s unpredictability and tendency to corrupt and disfigure something, or someone, that started out as a beautiful figure in life, yet as time progressed, became increasingly more broken. This view of time also leads into the fact that time permits the abandonment of individuals. As the first lord describes the sight of the wounded stag and Jacques’ emotions, he emphasizes the fact that the deer was “there /alone, /left and abandoned of his velvet friends” (2.1.51-53). Within this scene, the deer most...
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