The Role of the Forest in Midsummer Night's Dream and As You Like It

1387 WordsJun 22, 20186 Pages
William Shakespeare often compares imagination and reality in his plays. He explores this comparison through the role and purpose of the forests in Midsummer Night's Dream and As You Like It. Midsummer Night's Dream focuses on imagination and escape, while As You like It focuses on reality and self discovery. Imagination plays a key role in Midsummer Night's Dream. Puck, a fairy servant and friend of Oberon watches six Athenian men practice a play to be performed for Theseus wedding in the forest. Puck turns Nick Bottom's head into that of an ass. The other players see Bottom and run away screaming. He follows them saying, "Sometime a horse I'll be, sometime a hound, a hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire." "And neigh, and bark,…show more content…
Corin says, "Sir, I am a true laborer. I earn that I eat, get that I wear, owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness, glad of other man's good, content with my harm, and the greatest of my pride is to see my ewes graze and my lambs suck" (3.2.73-77). Meanwhile Duke Senior and others lords are discussing how much they love life in the forest. "…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" (2.1.15-17). A lord reports that melancholy Jaques came across a dying deer. "…to the which place a poor sequest'red stag, that from the hunter's aim had ta'en a hurt, did come to languish..." (2.1.34-36). At the end of the play Hymen, god of marriage, brings in Rosalind. "Good duke, receive thy daughter. …yea, brought her hither, that thou mightst join her hand with his, whose heart within his bosom is" (5.4.115-119). Self discovery is another important aspect of the play. Duke Frederick, has banished his older brother, Duke Senior. "…the old Duke is banish'd by his younger brother the new Duke…" (1.1.98-99). Duke Senior is living in the forest with many other lords. When Duke Frederick hears so many respectable lords are joining Duke Senior, he sets out to kill him. "Duke Frederick, hearing how that every day men of great worth resorted to this forest…in his own conduct, purposely to take his brother here, and put him to the sword…" (5.4.159-163). Along
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