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Setting in As You Like It

Setting Examples in As You Like It:

Act I - Act I, Scene 1

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"golden world...."   (Act I - Act I, Scene 1)

“The golden world” is an allusion to Ovid’s Metamorphosis. It signifies a type of Eden and represents the primal age of innocence from which humankind was thought to have come. With this allusion, the countryside is figured as an edenic paradise.

"voluntary exile with him,..."   (Act I - Act I, Scene 1)

This first scene sets up the two worlds in which this play will take place: the green, pastoral world of exiled Duke Frederick's court and the corrupt city dominated by politics. Throughout the rest of the play, characters will explore the merits of both the pastoral and the city scape as they attempt to resolve their conflicts.

"The Forest of Arden...."   (Act II - Act II, Scene 1)

Notice that Act II moves out of the city into the green world, the Forest of Arden. The green world is a literary trope in Shakespearean drama in which the main characters escape the city and their problems within the city to a natural setting, generally a forest or the countryside. This location is loosely structured and full of fantastic creatures. It is a place in which the characters can challenge the social order, explore their romantic relationships, and solve the main conflict that emerged in the city at the beginning of the play. The green world is therefore a place of exploration in which the rules that organize civil society are in flux.

"[Enter CORIN and SILVIUS.]..."   (Act II - Act II, Scene 4)

Corin and Silvius are representative of the pastoral world and its culture. Silvius’ name—drawn from the Latin “silva,” which means forest—highlights this point. The fact that Corin and Silvius are talking about matters of the heart in their opening conversation establishes the forest of Arden as a place where romantic relationships unfold.

"now am I in Arden: the more fool I..."   (Act II - Act II, Scene 4)

Fools represent the Trickster, a type of character that thwarts conventional behavior in order to reveal deeper meanings and challenge social norms. Once they enter the forest, Touchstone becomes “more the fool.” This reinforces a reading of the forest as a Green World in which social boundaries are called into question.

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