Since I’ve been thinking a lot about As You Like it, I’ve been considering the question of “what the play is about”. Â And I don’t mean what the plot is. Â I mean, what is the play about?
Going through the play, as I have been, it looks to me like banishment to the wilderness is freeing for the exiled characters. Â Its striking that once in exile, none of the characters really laments being exiled, except for Touchstone, but he seems to be the one dissenting voice. Â Â Aside from the Clown, everyone seems to be having a great time. Â Duke Senior and his followers have “gone native”, and are enjoying themselves, living in a cave and killing their own food and singing songs celebrating their hunting prowess. Â They areÂ revelingÂ in the freedom their rustic surroundings provide.
Rosalind experiences even more freedom. Â Accepted as a man, she finds that she is able to escape the constraints that society normally places on her.
Even Orlando, who isn’t so much exiled as on the run, doesn’t do too much complaining about his “banishment” once he arrives in Arden. Â Rather, his complaint is all about being separated from Rosalind.
What do you think this means? Â Do you agree? Disagree?
Of course, while interesting, this does not yet provide me with an answer to what the play is “about”, but its interesting to think about.