Belonging in 'as You Like It' and 'Forget You'

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While the desire to belong is universal, it can develop and be found in different ways. Through expressing this idea in various forms of representation; composers reveal a myriad of experiences and interpretations connected to the concept of belonging. Shakespeare’s As You Like It explores the paradoxical nature of belonging, that one can find inclusion through the state of exclusion. The play also shows how one’s inability to understand their own identity can lead to the exclusion and alienation of others. Furthermore Cee Lo Green’s videoclip ‘Forget You’ examines the pain and suffering caused by exclusion as well as the disconnection a lack of understanding and identity may cause. In Shakespeare’s As You Like It we witness the paradoxical nature of belonging-that one can find inclusion through the state of exclusion. Duke Senior highlights the shared community that has been formed in the Forest of Arden as a result of exclusion through his use of inclusive personal pronoun and repetition of bonding nouns, “Now my co-mates and brothers.” His similes in “Hath not old custom made this life more sweet than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods more free from peril than the envious court?” acknowledge the pleasurable benefits of exclusion, further reinforced through the alliterative plosives ‘painted pomp’ which portray the superficiality and hence unfufilling world of the court. Oliver finds inclusion in the Forest of Arden after being turned out of the court by Duke Frederick, as seen in Frederick’s forcefully aggressive imperative ‘push him out of doors…turn him going.” However, the doors act as symbolic transition for his metamorphosis. The contrasting use of past and present tense show his new found identity, ‘Twas I, but tis not I”. Furthermore, having the personal pronoun occur at the end of the phrase reflects his loss of ego-the ego which prevented him from being inclusive of others. His growth and awareness take place in the isolation of the cave,a...
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