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Act I And Ii Belonging Shown In Ayli

1036 words - 5 pages

How is belonging represented in
ACt I and ACT II of ‘As You Like it’?
In the first two acts of ‘As You Like It’, Shakespeare explores the concept that developing a sense of belonging is a complex process, often characterised by a conflict between conformity and upholding moral and personal integrity. These decisions can compromise the comfort of familiarity and can ultimately influence acceptance in and of a community or relationships with another individual. Also, this experience of belonging is one that is an innate human need. Shakespeare is able to successfully convey these ideas through examining the contrasting values between the court and the individuals and the Forest of Arden who ...view middle of the document...

Shakespeare accentuates this idea of sacrifice in the process of belonging through reflecting similar relationships between Celia and Rosalind, and the Lords and Duke Senior. Celia has given up her old life in order to follow Rosalind to banishment, similar to how the Lords have foregone their old wealth and status in the court to be with Duke Senior. So we can see that the process of forming a sense of attachment and belonging to a relationship with another can cause an individual to sacrifice their comfort as well as to be forced to choose between conforming the values of the court and those of their own moral integrity.
The setting plays an important role in shaping the concept of belonging in ‘As You Like It’. Shakespeare presents the court as a brutal place where most individuals are selfishly looking out only for themselves throughout the first two acts. This is first illustrated through the opening of ‘As You Like it’ in Orlando’s soliloquy in which he expresses his feelings of marginalisation, “keeps me rustically at home” as a result of his brother’s, Oliver’s mistreatment. Shakespeare incorporates strong imagery of Oliver’s well-attended horses juxtaposed with Orlando’s “unkept” upbringing in order to allow the audience to sympathise with Orlando’s being denied a sense of familial belonging due to his brother’s self-interest. As a result of his poor “keeping”, Orlando experiences a disconnection from the courtly society due to his belief that he lacks “all gentleman-like qualities” stemming from his lack of education. Shakespeare’s use of anaphora, beginning four lines with “If ever…” allows the responder to imagine and share in Orlando’s experiences of rejection and isolation. All these techniques combine so that we can see that the court is an unfair, cruel place that causes experiences of alienation, discomfort and insecurity due to a lack of alignment of values. Thus it is clear that from a of similar morals and values between either a society and an individual or between two different individuals,...

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