Posted: June 20th, 2021
‘As You Like It’ Essay Belonging is the inclusion of both acceptance and alienation. Belonging is security, connection and camaraderie where as not belonging is estrangement, ostracism and seclusion. To belong to people, communities or places can create positive as well as negative outcomes. People’s perceptions of belonging are constantly changing due to personal, historical, cultural and social contexts. In Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ incorporates both aspects of belonging; acceptance and alienation. Different types are presented throughout the play by showing connections to place, to people and to ideas.
Each connection that is presented details the characters emotions, actions and morals and values. Connections to certain places is expressed throughout the play but is not restricted to a single environment. Various characters including Orlando, Rosalind and Duke Senior all achieved a sense of belonging through their banishment/withdrawal from the court environment to the Forest of Arden. The Court, once a place where these characters rightfully belonged and had created affinities with, now had became a hostile and foreign environment forming negative outcomes.
Not long after, they created connections to the Forest of Arden by the forest providing them with a place of protection and a place to heal their wounded emotions. The forest and the Court are juxtaposed because both environments are necessary to create balance and unity between the characters so they can live happy and fulfilled lives. Rosalind and Orlando had to be banished from the Court, to then thrive and find themselves in the Forest of Arden enabling them to then return to the Court to live their lives where they rightfully belong displaying the importance of these environments.
Connections to people are what forms their morals and values and defines their actions. Celia is a perfect example of a connection to a person. She demonstrated the power of love and one’s connection to a person through her loyalty and devotion to Rosalind by showing that she would abandon everything; the Court life and her father, to follow Rosalind into the forest. She had displayed that there is no home at the court, no sense of belonging, without her Rosalind. This connection that Celia had with Rosalind created positive effects to herself and conveyed how belonging to a person was necessary for a positive outcome.
Connections to certain ideas define who people are but they also can be poignant and thought provoking toward the audience. Through the play the quote ‘All the world’s a stage’ pessimistically tells us that we all are one in this life. The play affirms that everyone belongs to the same human race and they all have the same ending. This idea is expressed in the dance at the end. It represents a social ritual where everyone belongs and they celebrate love, marriage and common humanity. Ideas can also shape ones perceptions of the world and how they act toward them.
Belonging can not just create positive or negative outcomes but it can either enrich or diminish a person’s life; their actions, decisions, morals and values and emotions. In Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ everyone experiences positive outcomes because it is one of his comedies. Belonging throughout the play established its importance to the characters and also detailed the connections they had with each other, their environment and themselves. It also showed how belonging is continually modifying to one’s circumstances but also by their personal, historical, cultural and social contexts.
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