Monday, December 11, 2023

Book Review: As You Like It by William Shakespeare

As You Like It is a timeless play that continues to resonate with audiences today.

For all latest articles, follow on Google News

As You Like It is a pastoral comedy written by William Shakespeare, first published in 1599. The play is one of the bard’s most beloved works, known for its witty dialogue, memorable characters, and exploration of themes such as love, mortality, and the nature of reality.


The title of the play, As You Like It, reflects the theme of personal choice and the freedom to live life as one desires. This is a recurring theme throughout the play, as the characters leave their old lives behind and venture into the Forest of Arden to discover themselves and find happiness.

Character Analysis

As You Like It features a diverse cast of characters, each with their own quirks and personalities. The protagonist, Rosalind, is a strong and independent woman who disguises herself as a man to escape persecution. Her wit and intelligence are a highlight of the play, as she uses her newfound freedom to teach the men around her about the nature of love.

Orlando, the play’s male lead, is a young man in love with Rosalind who is also searching for his place in the world. He is an idealistic and impulsive character who is transformed by his experiences in the Forest of Arden.

Jacques, the melancholic philosopher, provides a contrast to the play’s romantic themes, offering a more introspective look at the human condition.

Theme Analysis

One of the main themes of As You Like It is the idea of escape from the constraints of society. The characters flee to the Forest of Arden to escape the restrictions of court life and discover their true selves. In doing so, they learn to appreciate the simple pleasures of life and the importance of love and friendship.

The play also explores the nature of reality and the idea that the world is a stage, a theme that is expressed through the character of Jacques, who delivers the famous “All the world’s a stage” speech.

Quotes Analysis

  • “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” (Jacques, Act II, Scene 7): This quote highlights the idea that life is a performance and that we are all merely playing our parts. It suggests that our experiences and emotions are transitory and that we should not take them too seriously.
  • “And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in every thing.” (Duke Senior, Act II, Scene 1):  This quote reflects the theme of escape from society and the appreciation of nature and the simple pleasures of life. It suggests that the characters have found happiness in the Forest of Arden, where they are free from the constraints of court life.
  • And so from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe, and then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot; and thereby hangs a tale.” (Jacques, Act II, Scene 7): This quote expresses the idea of the transience of life and the inevitability of death. It suggests that life is fleeting and that we should make the most of it while we can.

Soliloquies & Monologues in AYLI

In Shakespeare’s play As You Like It, there are several soliloquies and monologues that provide insight into the characters’ thoughts and emotions. Some of the most notable include:

  • Jaques’ famous “All the world’s a stage” speech (Act II, Scene VII), which reflects on the seven stages of a man’s life.
  • Rosalind’s monologue in Act III, Scene II, in which she reflects on her love for Orlando and laments the difficulties she faces as a woman in a male-dominated world.
  • Orlando’s soliloquy in Act II, Scene III, in which he expresses his love for Rosalind and his frustration at being unable to win her heart.
  • Touchstone’s monologue in Act III, Scene III, in which he delivers a witty commentary on the nature of love and the meaning of life.

These speeches serve to deepen our understanding of the characters and the themes of the play, and they also add a lyrical quality to the work.

Success Factors of “As You Like It”

  • Witty and Humorous Dialogue: One of the most notable aspects of As You Like It is its witty and humorous dialogue, which provides a lighthearted and entertaining experience for the audience.
  • Theme of Love: The theme of love is central to the play, and Shakespeare explores different aspects of love such as true love, unrequited love, and romantic love through the relationships between various characters.
  • Complex Characters: The characters in As You Like It are complex and multifaceted, and their personal journeys and experiences add depth to the play.
  • Use of Nature: The use of nature in the play serves as a backdrop for the events and adds to the theme of transformation and renewal.
  • Musical Elements: The play features several songs and musical interludes, which provide a break from the dialogue and add to the overall tone of the play.

Overall, these elements combine to make As You Like It a successful play that has stood the test of time and continues to be performed and enjoyed by audiences today.

In conclusion, As You Like It is a timeless play that continues to resonate with audiences today. Its witty dialogue, memorable characters, and exploration of themes such as love, mortality, and the nature of reality make it a must-read for fans of Shakespeare and lovers of the theater.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles


Book Review: Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Hamlet is one of William Shakespeare's most famous plays, and is considered to be one of the greatest works of English literature....

The Power of Imagery in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy that has been captivating audiences for over four centuries. One of the reasons for...

Summary of “How We Think” by John Dewey: Understanding Author’s Philosophy

John Dewey's How We Think was originally published in 1910, and it remains a foundational work in the field of education. Dewey...

Book Review: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet is a timeless masterpiece written by the renowned playwright, William Shakespeare. The play tells the tragic love story of...

Book Review: Othello by Shakespeare

Othello is a play written by William Shakespeare in 1603. Othello tells the story of Othello, a black general in the Venetian...

Book Review: How We Think by John Dewey

The main theme of John Dewey's "How We Think" is the importance of developing effective thinking skills and the role that education can play in fostering these skills.

Book Review: “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare – A Masterpiece of Magic, Betrayal, and Redemption

"The Tempest" by William Shakespeare is a timeless play that continues to captivate readers and audiences around the world. First performed in...