Monday, October 31, 2011

As You Like It

"Run, run Orlando; carve on every tree
The fair, the chaste, and unexpressive she."

This is a line from As You Like It (III.ii), quite possibly my favorite play by Shakespeare. Briefly, these lines are referring to the scene where Orlando writes love poems to Rosalind on tree branches in the Forest of Arden. The sonnets, however, are not well-received but actually criticized for being unskilled. Without going into specific details, I guess what I'm most attentive to in this incident is (to use a grossly worn-out term) the irony— the passionate sentiments at the source of Orlando’s actions are actually, through this particular manifestation, revolting against and negating his hopes of gaining what he desires through them. To say the least, Orlando is forced to correct for his initial artifice and extract his “true love” out from a genuine trust in florid expressions and exhalations of Rosalind. She nonetheless enjoys the verses and is ecstatic to be around Orlando, maybe confirming the thought that, according to Wilde, “Even bad poetry is sincere.”

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