As You Like it: But I Didn’t . . . not much.
I finished As you Like It over the weekend in my effort to read all of Shakespeare by his 450th birthday, and while it started out being interesting–I thought it was going to be a favorite–it fizzled. It began with lots of good stuff: wrestling action between brothers, then with a “professional”—unlike our professional wrestling matches, this pro wrestler was out to kill and maim. Then there was the fabulously evil uncle; and cousins knit to one another in love. But the play faded into the woods, as fast and as much as the evil uncle.
I usually write words that capture themes I find interesting in the plays, but I got to the end of this one without a single word. I didn’t even find many quotes I liked—although there are some good and famous quotes in the play. Not all was loss, however, as I enjoyed throughout As You Like It the relationship between fair (and tall) Rosalind and her more diminutive and compulsively loyal cousin Celia. The only words, after thinking about the play for a while, that come to mind are Conflict Between Brothers.
Quotes that appealed to me for various reasons:
Celia: “…Those that she [Fortune] makes fair she scarce makes honest.”
Duke: “Sweet are the uses of adversity.”
Orlando: “Thou art not for the fashion of these times, where none will sweat but for promotion.”
Duke: “Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy; this wide and universal theatre present more woeful pageants than the scene wherein we play in.” Jaques: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts.”
Corvin: “…A great cause of the night is lack of the sun.”
Corvin: “I am a true labourer: I earn that I eat, get that I wear; owe no man hate, envy no man’s happiness; glad of other men’s good, content with my harm; and the greatest of my pride is, to see my ewes graze and my lambs such.”
Rosalind: “Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.”
Celia: “Was is not is…”
Celia: “O, that’s a brave man! He writes brave verses, speaks brave words, swears brave oaths and breaks them bravely.”
Touchstone: “’The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.’”
Orlando: “But O, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes!”
Next Up: All’s Well that Ends Well (four more comedies to go, before we take a break on comedy and do some Shakespeare history plays)