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Shakespeare's Festive ComedyA Study of Dramatic Form and Its Relation to Social Custom$
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Cesar Lombardi Barber

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691149523

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691149523.001.0001

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The Alliance of Seriousness and Levity in As You Like It

The Alliance of Seriousness and Levity in As You Like It

(p.252) Nine The Alliance of Seriousness and Levity in As You Like It
Shakespeare's Festive Comedy

C. L. Barber

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines Shakespeare's As You Like It. The play is very similar in the way it moves to A Midsummer Night's Dream and Love's Labour's Lost, despite the fact that its plot is taken over almost entirely from Lodge's Rosalynde. It argues that the reality we feel about the experience of love in the play, reality which is not in the pleasant little prose romance, comes from presenting what was sentimental extremity as impulsive extravagance and so leaving judgment free to mock what the heart embraces. The Forest of Arden, like the Wood outside Athens, is a region defined by an attitude of liberty from ordinary limitations, a festive place where the folly of romance can have its day.

Keywords:   Shakespeare, festive plays, As You Like It, comedy, Forest of Arden, liberty, romance

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