All the characters, at some point in the play, leave the royal court for the Forest of Arden. This mass exodus results from various characters being forced into exile (Duke Senior, Orlando, Rosalind), and then various others voluntarily joining them (the Lords, Adam, Celia). The forest thus serves as the theater of the play. A space in which time and conduct are relaxed, it is a setting that allows for things to happen and people to act in ways that they wouldn’t within the bounds of mannered city life: royalty and shepherds comingle (Rosalind and Celia interact with Silvius, Phebe, and Corin; Touchstone marries Audrey), the former pose as the latter (Rosalind and Celia dress themselves as people of the forest), and Cupid’s presence is potent (romance is sparked, vows are said). To welcome the weddings at the end of the play, Duke Senior declares, “in this forest let us do those ends / That where were well begun and well begot.”
Country vs. City ThemeTracker
Country vs. City Quotes in As You Like It
Let’s away and get our jewels and our wealth together, devise the fittest time and safest way to hide us from pursuit that will be made after my flight. Now we go in content to liberty, and not to banishment.
Are not these woods more free from peril than the envious court? Here feel we not the penalty of Adam.
Poor old man, thou prun’st a rotten tree that cannot so much as a blossom yield in lieu of all thy pains and husbandry. But come thy ways, we’ll go along together.