1. The Theme of Love, especially the kind(s) of love shown in the play, and how this love affects social reform (see Pastoral below)
2. The Art of Artifice - what is real and what is fake. This is especially applied to Rosalind, whose character I am extremely intrigued by.
3. Applications of "As You Like It" to modern day. Even just the application of the title is relevant. It seems like the play could have some interesting parallels, especially in relation to social criticism/reform.
Source: It seems like all of Shakespeare's play ideas are never accredited to him, but borrowed from a previous story. However, this does not bother me, because I think that art is never truly original. We are all influenced by the world around us, and therefore art is always a form of "copy." The source of the idea for "As You Like It" is Thomas Lodge's "Rosalynde Euphues' Golden Legacy" which also had a previous source called "The Tale of Gamelyn."
Pastoral: This type of play has exiles from urban life or court life who escape to the countryside. The pastoral is the perfect genre for social criticism or to inspire social reform. As You Like It has many refugees from court life including banished should-be kings, run away princesses, banished daughters to the should-be-king, wanted men, run away court jesters...the list goes on.
Comedy: As You Like It is also a comedy because it pokes fun at the conventions of romantic love. The characters themselves often lament suffering caused by their love, but they are quite unconvincing as it is obvious that they are enjoying being crossed in love. There is also cross-dressing and complete 180 turn-arounds in love, and an ending where everything miraculously turns out.
Setting: This is always an interesting part of the work, since it is usually based in reality for Shakespeare, but also contrived. The forest of Arden supposedly based on the forest near Shakespeare's home-town of Stratford-upon-Avon. Some scholars also attribute it to the biblical Garden of Eden.
Rosalind: She is definitely the main character through my research, and a pretty exciting, complex, female character. By the end of the play, she proves that love is the source of delight, but in the introductory scene, her cousin Celia is telling her of the curative power of love. So, it seems like she is going to do some changing too, while she is changing everyone else in the forest!
Themes: city life v. country life, LOVE, young v. old, born with nobility v. acquiring social standing (see my previous blog post on this topic in relation to "The Winter's Tale"), CHOICES, the complexity of life.
Famous quotations: "all the world's a stage..." "too much of a good thing"
Film: Kenneth Branagh's "As You Like It" has mixed reviews online. I watched the trailer and it looked like he focused mostly on Rosalind and Orlando's relationship, so we will have to see how much that is the focus in the actual play. Some other interesting things is that he had it set in Japan, and cast Orlando as a black man...