Date

5-4-2020

Description

This paper argues that Shakespeare's "As You Like It" is illustrative of the necessary misappropriation of nature embedded within a successful pastoral narrative. The pastoral genre is predicated upon the necessity of a green world where characters can free themselves from typical, societal restraints. In "As You Like It" it is not the way the characters are positively affected by the green world that is noteworthy, but rather the way the green world is negatively affected by the characters. From the moment the characters arrive in the forest of Arden, they remain set on locating art in a supposedly artless place. While the Duke internally inserts the man-made creations of literature and religion into the natural space around him, Orlando goes further by physically etching his poetry into so many trees that it appears not a single, natural space has been preserved. Since nature is only natural when it lacks all that is unnatural, humans can never truly experience nature, for the moment they enter nature, it is no longer natural. Ultimately, this reading reveals the pastoral process to be nothing more than a secondary artistic reimagining of a place that has already been colonized and lost.

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May 4th, 12:00 AM

"Is It a True Thing": The Pastoral Mode in Shakespeare's "As You Like It"

This paper argues that Shakespeare's "As You Like It" is illustrative of the necessary misappropriation of nature embedded within a successful pastoral narrative. The pastoral genre is predicated upon the necessity of a green world where characters can free themselves from typical, societal restraints. In "As You Like It" it is not the way the characters are positively affected by the green world that is noteworthy, but rather the way the green world is negatively affected by the characters. From the moment the characters arrive in the forest of Arden, they remain set on locating art in a supposedly artless place. While the Duke internally inserts the man-made creations of literature and religion into the natural space around him, Orlando goes further by physically etching his poetry into so many trees that it appears not a single, natural space has been preserved. Since nature is only natural when it lacks all that is unnatural, humans can never truly experience nature, for the moment they enter nature, it is no longer natural. Ultimately, this reading reveals the pastoral process to be nothing more than a secondary artistic reimagining of a place that has already been colonized and lost.