Elliot's Reviews > As You Like It

As You Like It by William Shakespeare
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May 04, 11

bookshelves: ap-literature-2010-11, drama
Read from April 22 to 26, 2011

I spent a considerable amount of time typing and retyping the opening sentences to this review, but, feeling a bit dry on wit, I settled to instead begin this review by explaining that I wasn't able to think of a proper beginning.

As You Like It, unfortunately, could neither move me to eloquent praise or vehement dismissal, so it sits in the awkward corner of "How can I possibly review this?"-mediocrity. I admit, I struggle to critically appreciate comedy (let alone pastorals!), and I feel as if my wanting understanding of the historical context of this play (specifically with regards contemporary views on gender) hampered my potential to really enjoy the play. And, if I may take one more moment to soften my apathy, I will quote the brilliant classicist Moses Hadas, referring to the fablist Phaedrus:

"Reading Phaedrus has the advantage and disadvantage accruing to an otherwise adult reader who would read Matthew or Hamlet for the first time: it all seems to be made up of old tags. But it can be both instructive and agreeable to find the old tags in their context."

Replacing Phaedrus with As You Like It, I can perhaps reconsider the tedium and predictability that I felt outweighed the moments of beauty, knowing that the 4 centuries that separate me from the text have had their way of eroding its newness.

However, my apologies don't change the fact that I found myself neither enjoying nor disliking the text, nor do I find my excuses particularly salient as arguments for this text's greatness.

Would I read the play again? Well, I wouldn't refuse to, but who knows if I'll do it by my own volition.
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