In the first three acts we learn that the forest is where the characters flee to when they have been banished out of the court if they have done wrong. We also learn that the court is very superior; therefore we immediately think that it is a much more comfortable and safer environment. However we learn that this is not entirely true, and that sometimes Shakespeare has steered us away from believing this; Shakespeare, in the first three acts, has managed to create an unexpected contrasted between the court and the forest.
At the beginning of Act 2 Scene 1 we find that duke Senior, Amiens, the first and second Lord have arrived in the forest of Arden. Surprisingly enough they are in a cheerful mood. They are ready to take on the life of the forest, in a confident way. There is evidence of this in the text, in the opening speech, by Duke senior. For example, he says, “Hath not old custom made this life more sweet than that of the painted pomp? ” What duke senior is saying here is that, life in the woods is better than the false ceremony of the court (painted pomp).
Duke senior then goes on to say, “Are not these woods more free from peril than the envious court? ” Duke senior is now saying that there is more freedom in the woods than in the court, and that they are free from danger, threat or any risk that might be held upon them in the court. The speech by Duke senior is very optimistic, which immediately tells the reader that life in the forest is not going to be as expected, as it should be seen more as a prison for them as apposed to a place free peril. However in the play, life in the court is much different to life in the forest.
There is evidence of this in Act 1 scene 3 (page 27). Duke Fredrick (a member of the court) is being very unfair to Rosalind. He is banishing her just because he doesn’t trust her. Duke Frederick opens page 27 by saying, “Mistress dispatch you with your greatest haste and get you from our court. ” There is much contrast in the conversation between Duke Frederick and Rosalind. Rosalind is pleading Duke Frederick, to stay in the court. This generates pathos for Rosalind. Duke Frederick, on the other hand is being very mean to her, which makes him an evil and black-hearted character in this scene.
Rosalind is a future member of the forest (at this part of the play), and Duke Frederick is a member of the court. Shakespeare in this scene has therefore generated a contrasted between court and forest, through this conversation as there is a great difference in character. To create this contrasted, Shakespeare has made the court (or the representative, Duke Frederick) out to be very malevolence and wicked, and he has managed to do this through his speech. Rosalind is the opposite of this and she is a very harmless character.
This has again generated an unexpected contrasted between both scenes of the forest and the court. This is an unexpected contrasted because the court would generally be a more respected place, and the forested people would not be so respected. However the audience would not feel this way, as they would have seen how disrespectful Duke Frederick was how innocent Rosalind was. When Rosalind, Celia and Touchstone arrive in the Forest of Arden, they are not pleased, especially, the melancholy Touchstone. Touchstone admits he did not want to come, and that he would rather be back in the court.
This might make the audience feel that he is more suited in the court as he admits to wanting to go back; which would make Touchstone an evil, black-hearted character. However this is not true. Touchstone agreed to go with Rosalind and Celia for company. This just proves that Touchstone (however melancholy) is a caring friend and belongs in the Forest of Arden. In carefully examining the text in the first three acts I have found that Shakespeare has generated an obvious contrasted between the world of the court and the world of the forest.
Shakespeare has also managed to create pathos for the characters that have had to flee to the forest of Arden, at the same time as producing an evil atmosphere around the court. What Shakespeare has also done is created two groups of people, that could be referred to as the “goodies”(the forest) and the “baddies” (the court). The forest could be referred as the “goodies ” as they come across to the audience as innocent and generally good people.
The court could be referred to as the “baddies” as they come across to the audience as mean and black-hearted people. This also comes back to the unexpected contrasted as the court would not nominally be associated as mean black-hearted people and the forest people would not nominally be associated as friendly innocent people, but rather disrespectful people. We will very often find these two sides (the “goodies” and the “baddies”) in children’s cartoons. Shakespeare has done the same sort of idea but it is much more complex and interesting!