«by JANE ELIZABETH KINGSLEY-SMITH A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Arts of the University of Birmingham for the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY The ...»
In Shakespeare 's Pastoral Comedy, Thomas MacFarland suggests that the situation at the start of As You Like It 'could [...] as well serve for a tragedy as for a comedy 7. 36 He compares the banishment of Duke Senior with the nightmare of alienation' cast upon Webster's play, The White Devil, by the opening word, 'Banished', and with the horrors of that state in Romeo and Juliet? 1 Furthermore, he considers the banishment of Duke Senior to be
significant not only for the characters of As You Like It but for Shakespearean comedy itself:
This play, then, involves the first massive assault of the forces of bitterness and alienation upon the pastoral vision of Shakespeare, and its action glances off the dark borders of tragedy. Indeed, the motif of repeated abandonment of the court, first by Orlando and Adam, then by Rosalind. Celia and Touchstone, is prophetic of the departings and rejections of Cordelia, Kent, and Edgar at the beginning of King Lear's quest for essential being. 38 This analogy between the comedy and tragedy will be considered in our examination of King Lear and its reworking of pastoral exile. Although I would agree with MacFarland that the state of exile is inherently tragic what I find remarkable about As You Like It is the ease with which that darkness is vitiated.39 It was not so in Shakespeare's main source, Rosalynde.
While still at court. Lodge's heroine thinks of her father's exile as an irreversible blight:
36 Thomas MacFarland, Shakespeare's Pastoral Comedy (Chapel Hill: University of N. Carolina Press, 1972), 98.
37 Ibid., 99.
38 Ibid.. 101.
39 Joseph Westlund also remarks upon the serenity of As You Like It's characters in their approach to banishment, 73. He sees this as typical of their self-assurance in dealing with tyranny and 'evil' and typical of the play's lack of serious psychological conflict: 'Shakespeare's comedies stir up reparative impulses in us by awakening potential fears [...] and then showing us various ways in which they can be transcended: through the plot's outcome, the characters' reactions and moods, and the large process of interaction between the play and our inner world', 13-4. See Shakespeare's Reparative Comedies: A Psychoanalytic I'iew of the Middle Plan's (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1984).
The blossomes of thy youth are mixt with the frostes of envie, and the hope of thy ensuing frutes perish in the bud. Thy father is by Torismond banisht from the crowne, & thou the unhappie daughter of a King detained captive, living as disquited [sic] in thy thoughts, as thy father discontented in his exile. (174) At court, Rosalind too laments her unjust fate (1.2.2-6) but exile does not remain a source of shame and chagrin in the forest nor does it colour her attitude towards love. Rosalynde,
however, tells herself that it would be better to remain chaste:
for that thou art an exile, and banished from the Court: whose distresse, as it is appeased with patience, so it woulde bee renewed with amorous passions.
Have minde on thy forepassed fortunes, feare the worst, and intangle not thy self with present fancies. (204) When she meets her father in the forest, Lodge's heroine grieves for his altered state and considers the lowliness and simplicity of Gerismond's life to be degrading (247-8). 40 For Saladyne, exile is a source of pain but also a curse resonant of Cain's banishment: 'grieving at his exile, yet [he] determined to beare it with patience, and in penaunce of his former follies to travell abroade in everie Coast, till hee had founde out his Brother Rosader' (199).
When the two brothers are reconciled, Saladyne's conversion is wondered at. Adam Spencer rejoices 'that banishment had so reformed him, that from a lascivious youth hee was prooved a vertuous Gentleman' (220).
If Shakespeare takes banishment less seriously than Lodge, I would argue that this is partly because the play's consolations for exile are more powerful. Shakespeare has created a world 40 Compare this with Ganimede's merriment on meeting the Duke in Arden (3.4.31-4). Moreover, where Lodge describes Gerismond's grief at the news of his daughter's banishment (197), in Shakespeare's play Duke Senior and Orlando remain ignorant of this event. Lodge stages a tearstained reunion between father and daughter where, in As You Like It, this reunion is subordinated to the betrothals (5.4.114-22). As Rosalind declared earlier, 'what talk we of fathers when there is such a man as Orlando?' (3.4.34-5).
in which exile is easily translated into something else. He has created a court characterised by claustrophobia and alienation from which any escape might be liberty. MacFarland sees Act Two of As You Like It, in particular Duke Senior's opening speech, as a 'massive attempt to restore comic benignity and to check the tragic tendency 7.41 Yet it is this dark opening that heightens by contrast the joyous and festive opportunities of exile. The desire to locate a 'better world than this' (1.2.274) anywhere beyond the court, helps to define exile for the courtiers before banishment. Arden could be any kind of civilised or natural setting elsewhere. 42 From the beginning of As You Like It, the atmosphere at court is one of alienation and selfloss. Duke Frederick has usurped his elder brother and banished him from the kingdom.
Rosalind grieves for her father but also for the ignominy of her position, no longer heir to a kingdom but displaced by her cousin. Similarly, Orlando has been denied his small inheritance by his brother and is kept on Oliver's country estate in neglect and contempt.
Even Adam is denied the place his faithful service has merited. Meanwhile, the usurpers are in continual fear of usurpation. Duke Frederick at first disdains to give any reason for Rosalind's banishment other than vague suspicions (1.3.51-4, 57). In Rosalynde, the usurper, Torismond, fears that the eponymous heroine will attract a wealthy suitor and that an attempt will subsequently be made on his kingdom. Frederick warns his daughter that Rosalind eclipses her in public opinion, 'She robs thee of thy name" (1.3.76-81, 78) but does not otherwise expand on the nature of Rosalind's threat. Similarly, Oliver reveals a
straightforward envy of Orlando but expresses himself mystified at the extent of his hatred:
41 Shakespeare 's Pastoral Comedy, 101.
42 Barber describes the festive release of the sojourn in Arden as in part created by the tension at court.
Shakespeare's Festive Comedy, 223-4.
I hope I shall see an end of him, for my soul - yet I know not why - hates nothing more than he. Yet he's gentle; never schooled, and yet learned; full of noble device; of all sorts enchantingly beloved; and, indeed, so much in the heart of the world, and especially of my own people, who best know him, that I am altogether misprized. (1.1.154-60) Whilst Orlando and Rosalind perceive themselves to be displaced, their enemies suggest that both heirs occupy privileged positions in the public's imagination and affections.
In contrast with the claustrophobia and paranoia of the court, Duke Senior's 'exile' in the forest of Arden is liberty: 'many young gentlemen flock to him every day, and fleet the time carelessly, as they did in the golden world' (1.1.111-3). In Arthur Golding's translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses (1567) the golden age world is described as uniformly bountiful, a land where milk and wine flow in streams and honey pours from the trees (1.127-8), precluding the need for hunting or farming. Men are content to live where they were born,
without any ambition for travel or conquest:
The loftie Pynetree was not hewen from mountaines where it stood, In seeking straunge and forren landes, to rove upon the flood.
Men knew none other countries yet, than where themselves did keepe:
There was no towne enclosed yet, with walles and diches deepe. (1.109-112)
Golding applies a Christian gloss to this pagan concept:
43 Ovid's Metamorphoses: The Arthur Golding Translation ed. by John Frederick Nims (London: CollierMacmillan Ltd., 1965).
The reality of Arden is very different from this vision. It is a post-Saturnine, post-lapsarian world in which men suffer 'the penalty of Adam' (2.1.5). The forest may create a sense of time's suspension but its inhabitants are still subject to decay and death. 44 Nor do they behave as Golden Age dwellers were imagined to have done. The courtiers do not live in harmony with nature but suffer from their exposure to the elements and to wild animals.
Unlike their vegetarian forefathers, these men hunt deer for entertainment and for food.
Jaques refers to the Duke's court as usurping power in this natural world (2.1.27-8).
Moreover, the voluntary exiles, Touchstone and Jaques, express distaste for their circumstances. The latter ridicules any man (including himself) for 'Leaving his wealth and ease/ A stubborn will to please' (2.5. 49-50) whilst Touchstone muses that 'When I was at home I was in a better place; but travellers must be content' (2.4.15-6). He thus contradicts the assumption that Arden is the 'better place' anticipated by Le Beau (1.2.274).
In his De Constantia libri duo, Lipsius describes how he fled the chaos of civil war in the Low Countries in search of peace elsewhere. His friend, Langius, warns him not to expect that he will discover peace of mind through change of scenery.
except happily there bee some region in the world which can temperate feare, bridle hope, and draw out these evil dregges of vice, which we have sucked from our infancie. But none such is there, no not in the fortunate Hands: Or if there be, shew it unto us, and we will all hasten thither in troupes.43 Langius' imaginary landscape expresses that dream of Edenic redemption we earlier identified with pastoral. Whilst he denies the possibility of its existence, he reiterates the desirability of such a discovery. Like Duke Senior's courtiers who flock to Arden in search of 44 See J. L. Halio '"No Clock in the Forest": Time in As You Like It', SEL 2 (1962), 197-207.
45 De Constantia libri duo, 4.
a golden world, Langius would abandon his philosophical precepts and join his friend, 'hastening] in troupes' to a land which redeems men without any effort on their part. The land Langius imagines does not exist on the Shakespearean stage either. In Arden, men must suffer for redemption but this redemption does come with almost magical speed and appropriateness, like the fulfilment of their wishes. The play dramatises the regeneration of men as their readmission into society. For those whose exile thence was unjust, the conditions are created for their return, engaging a readjustment to the society which spurned them. For the guilty exile, the forest facilitates a degree of self-reflection which results hi their civil, if not spiritual, conversion.
Nevertheless, the play does advocate the philosophy Langius proposed as an alternative to the restorative landscape, namely Stoicism. Duke Senior, Corin, and even Ganimede in his declared attitude to love, all invoke Stoic precepts. Duke Senior opens Act Two and our first
entrance into Arden thus:
46 Compare with Valentine's experience in the forest outside Mantua. He too has become accustomed to his exile, 'How use doth breed a habit in a man!/ This shadowy desert, unfrequented woods/1 better brook than flourishing peopled towns', The Two Gentlemen of Verona (5.4.1-3).
Stoicism encourages the sufferer to reinterpret his situation by questioning the merits of what he has lost and embracing the contentment to be found in deprivation. The transformation of a harsh landscape through the new perspectives of Stoicism is a much repeated and imitated convention. In De Providentia, Seneca describes how the German tribes and nomads who live along the Danube, outside 'Roman civilization', are oppressed by eternal winter and a
they keep off the rain with thatch or leaves, they range over ice-bound marshes, and hunt wild beasts for food. Are they unhappy, do you think?
There is no unhappiness for those whom habit has brought back to nature.
For what they begin from necessity becomes gradually a pleasure. 47 For Duke Senior, custom has dulled the pain of exile and the comparison between court and country has redefined his position. He contrasts the meretricious and Machiavellian court with the simplicity and honesty of the forest that strips man of his pretensions revealing the 'poor, bare, forked animal'. Deprivation suggests how little man needs to survive and thus directs his thoughts away from physical desires and ambitions, turning them inwards. This is another classically Stoic point made by Seneca in Ad Helviam and by Plutarch in Of Exile or Banishment. Finally, the idea of the individual communing with the landscape and of Nature as a book wherein man may read the secrets of creation and of his own place in the universe is another idea expressed by Seneca. He describes how as long as the exile can look upon the heavens it does not matter upon which soil he treads.48 Even the self-consciousness of Duke 47 De Providentia in Moral Essays, vol. 1, 2-47, 33.
48 Ad Helviam, 331. On reading Nature, see Seneca's De Otio, 191.
Senior's philosophising here may identify him with the Stoic.49 Corin is another, perhaps more genuine, Stoic figure. He exemplifies the shepherd-as-'natural philosopher' that we earlier recognised as a convention of pastoral. Corin lives in harmony
with the natural world and rejoices in his self-sufficiency:
Corin would be an ideal role model for the impoverished exile yet the play seems to eschew his wisdom. He is mocked by the sophistry of Touchstone and prevented from sharing his philosophy with any of the other exiles. That the play advocates a derisory as well as an admiring attitude to Stoic consolations may also be surmised from Ganimede's position. He offers to cure Orlando of his love-sickness, promising that he will thus become more constant and less 'love-shaked' (3.2.355 italics mine). Ganimede describes the effect of his cure on