As You Like It
As You Like It Contrasting Regions Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to The Norton Shakespeare, second edition, published in 2008.
I had as lief thou didst break his neck
as his finger. (1.1.18)
Did we mention that neck breaking is considered entertainment at Duke Frederick's court? Did we also mention that Oliver's desire to see the court wrestler kill his little brother speaks volumes about how dangerous life at court can be?
Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court? (2.1.1)
Duke Senior's been exiled, but he makes the most of his new life in Arden. According to the Duke, country life is "more sweet" because it offers safety and freedom from the court, where everybody seems to be two-faced and untrustworthy.
Here feel we not the penalty of Adam,
The seasons' difference; as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind,
Which when it bites and blows upon my body,
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say
'This is no flattery; these are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.' (2.1.1)
Even though the weather in Arden is not ideal, Duke Senior says he barely notices the "icy fang" of the "winter's wind." Duke Senior seems genuinely happy out of the court, especially because it was a source of such pain and treachery to him. What's interesting about this passage is how Duke Senior likens the forest to Eden before man's fall. (In Genesis, Adam and Eve are booted out of Eden and the earth is cursed. Like a lot of people, Duke Senior interprets this curse to include lousy weather.)
P.S. Did you notice how the word "Arden" combines the names of Arcadia (an earthly paradise from classical Greek mythology) and Eden (the Biblical paradise)?