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“As You Like It could hardly be considered a comedy as there is no humour within it.” Do you agree? Discuss how at least one comic scene from the play be performed.

Answer

“As You like It” is definitely a romantic pastoral comedies that finally ends happily with a multiplicity of marriages. Though the play consumes melancholy moralizing issues it does not end with a tragedy; unlike Shakespeare’s other works. “As you like it” entails comedy elements that fall into the convention of comedy. It amplifies the common errors of life, represented in the most ridiculous and scornful sort that releases laughter and tension amongst his audience. In particular, the function of comedy in “As you like it” is to reflect and exaggerate life from different perspectives as part of the didactic purpose. These elements of comics are portrayed by a highly fantastic plot set in both a realistic and fantasy world that generates an abundance of love-lore men, a resourceful heroine in disguise and sexual ambiguity that amplifies the comedy in the play. Shakespeare structures the comedy in “As you like it” in three part movement from the familiar through the strange, returning changed to the familiar; from everyday to holiday and back to everyday; from restraints of society and order, to release and freedom, then back to work and sobriety. (Goodman pp. 220)

‘As You Like It’ is a pastoral comedy as Shakespeare removes the corrupt life of the court and moves his characters to the Forest of Arden, the pastoral haven. At the opening of the play the audience learn of Oliver’s tyranny over Orlando and Duke Fredrick’s autocratic rule. Here a repressive world is being portrayed. Contrary to this, we see an attractive life style led by Duke Fredrick in the forest as “many young gentlemen flock to him every day, and fleet the time carelessly as they did in the golden world”(I.1.110-12). Similarly, falling in love without the usual restrictions that society imposes becomes...
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