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As You Like It Paperback – Jun 18 1998
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An excellent introduction to Shakespeare for the junior reader.―The School Librarian --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Like every other play in the series, As You Like It has been specially prepared to help all students in schools and colleges. This version aims to be different from other editions of the play. It invites you to bring the play to life in your classroom through enjoyable activities that will help increase your understanding. You are encourage to make up your own mind about the play, rather than have someone else's interpretation handed down to you. Whatever you do, remember that Shakespeare wrote his plays to be acted, watched and enjoyed. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
My recommendation is that you first see a performance (whether in person, or on a recording). If that's not possible, try for an audio. Many outstanding actors have been taped. After you have the sights and sounds of the play firmly in mind, then read the play. You'll find that your earlier experiences will unlock more of the play's depths, imagery and pleasures for you.
Where in life is being true to your word very important? How can you improve your life by being more reliable in this way?
It shares many features with the great comedies - the notion of the forest as a magic or transformative space away from tyrannical society ('A Midsummer night's dream'); the theme of unrequited love and gender switching from 'Twelfth night'; the exiled Duke and his playful daughter from 'The Tempest'. But these comparisons only point to 'AYLI''s comparative failure (as a reading experience anyway) - it lacks the magical sense of play of the first; the yearning melancholy of the second; or the elegiac complexity of the third.
It starts off brilliantly with a first act dominated by tyrants: an heir who neglects his younger brother, and a Duke who resents the popularity of his exiled brother's daughter (Rosalind). there is an eccentric wrestling sequence in which a callow youth (Orlando) overthrows a giant. Then the good characters are exiled to Arden searching for relatives and loved ones.
Theoretically, this should be good fun, and you can see why post-modernist critics enjoy it, with its courtiers arriving to civilise the forest in the language of contemporary explorers, and the gender fluidity and role-play; but, in truth, plot is minimal, with tiresomely pedantic 'wit' to the fore, especially when the melancholy scholar-courtier Jacques and Fool Touchstone are around, with the latter's travesties of classical learning presumably hilarious if you're an expert on Theocritus and the like.
As an English pastoral, 'AYLI' doesn't approach Sidney's 'Arcadia' - maybe it soars on stage. (Latham's Arden edition is as frustrating as ever, with scholarly cavilling creating a stumbling read, and an introduction which characteristically neuters everything that makes Shakespeare so exciting and challenging)
Then there's Jaques. Melancholy, cynical, yet hysterical in his own way; pay special attention to his "All the world's a stage" speech at the end of Act III. And don't forget Touchstone, the fool...
I don't want to give the plot away. There are so many surprises, so many unexpected twists-- this is one of Shakespeare's more complicated (if not deeper) plays. If at all possible, try to see at least one performance of it. The one I most recently saw had the entire audience in stitches from the first act to the final, multiple weddings and all.
Backstory: The cruel Duke has deposed his far nicer brother, and the ex-Duke has run off into the Forest of Arden. At the same time, a young man named Orlando has been cast out by his cruel brother Oliver.
Then the Duke decides to exile his niece Rosalind, despite the pleas of his daughter Celia. So Rosalind (disguised as a boy), Celia and the jester Touchstone run away into the Forest of Arden the following night, and soon encounter the exiled Duke and his followers. So does Orlando and his faithful servant Adam.
Because of a previous meeting, Rosalind and Orlando are already in love. But not only does he not recognize her, but because she's disguised as a boy she's attracted the amorous intentions of a local shepherdess. And to make matters even more complex, Touchstone is in a love triangle of his own, and Oliver has stumbled into Arden as well. Is everything going to end well?
The biggest problem with "As You Like It" is the fact that the ending is just a little too tidy -- while it's plausible that the romantic tangles would be smoothed out, there's an conveniently-timed twist that stretches believability to the point of snapping. Fortunately, the rest of it is a pleasantly fluffy little story filled with Shakespeare's sparkliest, sunniest storytelling.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This was super thin so it just came in an envelope and I didn't have to go to the post office to pick it up! Read morePublished on Nov. 5 2013 by Sarah
As all the other comedies of Shakespeare, As You Like It has the same witty exchange of insults between the men, and prolonged talk of nonsense between the women. Read morePublished on Jan. 8 2002 by kp
This book by william shakespeare, as you like it, was a truely remarkable act. it's funny, relaxed, interesting and understandable. Read morePublished on June 6 2000 by princess waiters