Essay on Pastoral Imagery of Shakespeare and Milton

Essay on Pastoral Imagery of Shakespeare and Milton

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The Pastoral Imagery of Shakespeare and Milton

 
   The pastoral settings in Shakespeare's As You Like It, John Milton's "L'Allegro," and his "Il Penseroso" provide an escape from an urban environment. Although Shakespeare's Duke Senior and his followers physically move into a forest, they still tend to impose their urban system upon the wilderness. In "L'Allegro," Milton presents an idyllic countryside where all adversity has been safely domesticated. In "Il Penseroso," the speaker makes no attempt to change the landscape of Melancholy, but rather embraces it for its solitude and silence. All of these scenes contrast sharply with a materialistic civilization.

 

As You Like It shifts from the political court to a seemingly peaceful forest. Duke Senior and his men attempt to make the best of the cold and isolated forest, but very soon find themselves transforming their asylum into a forest court. Jacques notes that as Duke Frederick has done to them in the old court, they are usurping the forest and the animal kingdom. In the forest, they have banquets and a clear hiera...

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