Utopia, Arcadia and the Forest of Arden

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18778/2083-8530.26.09

Keywords:

Shakespeare and utopia, arcadia/utopia and the Forest of Arden, transformative wilderness, As You Like It

Abstract

In Utopia (1516) Thomas More created a humorous world with a serious purpose. His invented republic was a place where existing conventions and structures did not exist, allowing the positing of alternatives. The creation of alternative worlds which satirise or critique contemporary society is a technique employed by writers in most genres, in most periods and in most cultures. More’s work is interesting for us in this context at least in part because of the likelihood that Shakespeare was familiar with it. When he created The Forest of Arden in As You Like It, for some of the characters there are utopian elements in their experience of that place. But Arden is not only a putative Utopia. Arden also contains elements of the pastoral Arcadia, again drawing upon ancient precedents, but more recently explored by English poets Edmund Spenser in The Shepherd’s Calendar (1579) and Philip Sidney in The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia (1593). This article interrogates the use of Utopian and Arcadian elements in the creation of one of Shakespeare’s most complicated plays. Like More’s Utopia its intention is comic. Like Sidney’s poem it is romantic, but unlike both of them it is ultimately about returning to a real world, with new perceptions of who we are, not as a society but as individuals.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Ronan Paterson, Teesside University, United Kingdom

Ronan Paterson has had a lengthy career as an actor and director in theatre, film and television. This has included taking Shakespeare plays to nine European countries, and speaking on and leading workshops in Shakespeare in many countries, ranging from Young Offenders in a prison to producers and directors at China Central Television. He moved into teaching, first in the conservatoire sector, then in Universities, most recently at Teesside University. A frequent speaker at international conferences, he organised the Shakespeare 400 conference at Elsinore. He has published widely on Shakespearean subjects, across theatre, film, comics and theatre history.

References

Allen, P. S., ed. Erasmi Epistolae. Oxford, 1922.
Google Scholar

Ariosto, L. Orlando Furioso. Trans. B. Reynolds. London: Penguin Classics, 2006.
Google Scholar

Farrar, Ryan. “As You Like It: The Thin Line Between Legitimate Utopia and Compensatory Vacation.” Utopian Studies 25.2 (2014): 359-383.
Google Scholar

Goldstein, Leonard. “A Note on Shakespeare’s Utopia and Sexuality.” Cahiers Élisabéthains 32.1 (1987): 69-73.
Google Scholar

Greene, R. Menaphon. Ed. G. B. Harrison. London: Basil Blackwood, 1927.
Google Scholar

Johnson, B. “To The Memory of my Beloved the Author Mr William Shakespeare.” First Folio. 1623.
Google Scholar

Lodge, Thomas. Rosalynde. Ed. W. W. Greg, London, Chatto and Windus: 1907.
Google Scholar

Lucian. A True Story. Trans. E. Hayes and S. Nimis. Oxford, Ohio: Faenum Publishing, 2011.
Google Scholar

Marlowe, C. A Passionate Shepherd to his Love. 1599.
Google Scholar

Montaigne, M. de. “Of Cannibals.” Shakespeare’s Montaigne. Ed. S. Greenblatt and P. Platt. New York: New York Review of Books Classics, 2014.
Google Scholar

Montemayor, J. de. Diana Enamorada. 1559.
Google Scholar

More, Thomas. Utopia. Ed. P. Turner, P. London: Penguin, 1972.
Google Scholar

O’Hanlon, J. Head of Education, Royal Shakespeare Company, private conversation with the author. Lund, Sweden, 2017.
Google Scholar

Paterson, R. “The Transformative Wilderness.” Theatre International 10 (2017): 1-18.
Google Scholar

Plato. The Republic. Trans. D. Lee, (2007) London: Penguin Classics.
Google Scholar

Sannazaro, J. Arcadia. 1504.
Google Scholar

Shakespeare, William. As You Like It. Open Source Shakespeare. https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/ Accessed 23 March 2022.
Google Scholar

Shakespeare, William. Henry VI Part II. Open Source Shakespeare. https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/ Accessed 14 November 2022.
Google Scholar

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Open Source Shakespeare. https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/ Accessed 10 November 2022.
Google Scholar

Sidney, P. The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia. Ed. Duncan Jones. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Google Scholar

Spenser, E. Shepheardes Calender. Ed. R. McCabe. London: Penguin Classics, 1999.
Google Scholar

Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver’s Travels. London: Penguin Classics, 2003.
Google Scholar

Virgil. Eclogues. Trans. G. Lee. London, Penguin Classics: 1984.
Google Scholar

Winson, Adam. What is a Forest? 2011. https://www.awatrees.com/2011/11/29/what-is-a-forest/ Accessed 14 November 2022.
Google Scholar

Wojciechowska, Sylwia. “Locus amoenus or locus horridus: The Forest of Arden as a Setting in As You Like It.” Studia Anglica Posnaniensia 46.3 (2011): 103-116. https://doi.org/10.2478/v10121-010-0007-4/
Google Scholar

Downloads

Published

2022-12-30 — Updated on 2023-12-20

Versions

How to Cite

Paterson, R. (2023). Utopia, Arcadia and the Forest of Arden. Multicultural Shakespeare: Translation, Appropriation and Performance, 26(41), 147–164. https://doi.org/10.18778/2083-8530.26.09 (Original work published December 30, 2022)