Love is merely a madness, and I tell you, deserves as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do; and the reason why they are not so punished and cured is that the lunacy is so ordinary that the whippers are in love too.
I loved this quote. As You Like It is probably most famous for its “Seven Ages of Man” speech, which is fabulous of course, but it was the above quote that called out to me most in this play.
As You Like It started out as an interesting story, with the old Duke exiled by his brother, the Duke’s daughter being best friends with the new Duke’s daughter.
And of course, there we a few young men, who had no idea what they were doing or what they were looking for really – and there was a fool. Or were they all fools?
The theme of exile had promise for development into something, but Shakespeare didn’t take up the challenge here. I guess he wasn’t ready for that play, yet. The Tempest would develop later, so would The Winter’s Tale.
The idea of star-crossed bonds had promise, too. And this is an idea that Shakespeare used before, yet again only hinted at but chose to not really develop in this play.
So, what was left?
Not a lot.
Despite an interesting start, Shakespeare seemed to have lost interest, or time, or both, and basically fell back on the same formula of farcical and really, really dumb romantic comedy that made Comedy of Errors look like a bonkers but inane masterpiece.
I am seriously done with Shakespeare’s comedies. … Tho, I know, I still have at least one more to suffer through (The Merry Wives of Windsor).
Nevertheless, there is one thing I would like to recommend: I mentioned the Arkangel Shakespeare productions in reviews of previous plays, but with respect to As You Like It, the Arkangel audio production really was what held my interest on the play until the end.
The production included musical pieces for all of the songs included in the play, and those were brilliant.
So, I feel like I should rate the play and the production separately:
Original Play – 2*
Arkangel Audio Production – 3*