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"As You Like," is a dramatic comedy written by Shakespeare. It is a pastoral comedy, which is set in the countryside. It consists of love talks and a series of accidental meetings. Shakespeare has used satire sarcasm, irony, and exaggeration to describe the events in the story. The events include transferring the characters from a sophisticated, urban society to countryside and leaving them to deal with life there.
Satire is the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, and humor to expose or denounce a vice. Many literary writes use satire to expose several vices in the society. It focuses on the act and not the person. This is to say that it emphasizes the weakness rather than the weak person. Several satirical forms expose vices in the society.
There are three types of satire. The first is Horatian satire that is named after the famous Roman satirist called Horace. This satire is tolerant. This is to say that it is witty, self-evaluating, and wise. It uses the mild forms of language to ridicule a vice. It uses humor as one of its devices. It uses humor, which consists of exaggeration, understatements, incongruity, and linguistic games. This satire does not cause tension in a society and it can almost go unnoticed by the intended group. For example in the Walks of Charlie Chaplin, there is a character known as Jim Carrey who keeps on contorting his face. This is humor. That is the character will not feel as if he is being criticized because it has been expressed in a humorous way. It criticizes rather than attack human faults.
The second satire is Juvenalian satire. This satire is more angry, intolerant, resentful, and personal. This satire mocks a vice rather than tolerate it. It is named after the Roman satirist Juvenal. It normally attacks and shows hatred towards people. It is more personal and normally attacks an individual. It uses invective as a tool to ridicule. Invective involves personal attack and abuse. This type of satire is more callous than the Horatian satire.
The third type of satire is Menippean satire that is named for the cynic Menippus. It is difficult, muddled, and unstructured. It criticizes the world and its structure. It also criticizes the subject matter rather than people. It has several goals and, therefore, criticizes in a disjointed way. Dialogue is the main tool that this type of satire uses. It aligns itself to dealing with mental attitudes, for example, stereotypes. It is attire for prose writing. It views human faults as a social disease.
Shakespeare has used satire to mock the hatred in the family unit, in this play. For example, Oliver hates Orlando without knowing the reason. Hatred normally develops with a reason. In any society, it is impossible to hate without a reason. There is hatred between Duke Senior and Duke Fredrick who also keeps transferring his hatred to Rosalind. The writer mocks all the hostile people in this society. These are the people who makes life unbearable for the rest, for example, Duke Fredrick makes life unbearable for Rosalind because he keeps on turning on her yet she does not know what she has done to deserve this hostility.
Sarcasm has been described as a sharp remark that is intended to wound. The remark is bitter and intends to hurt people feelings. Many writers have argued that sarcasm is irony but several attempts have been made to distinguish between the two. Irony can, however, be used to bring out satire. Sometimes sarcasm might not be recognized in written form. It has to be spoken in order for the tone of voice not to be lost on the reader.
Shakespeare has used several cutting remarks in his book As You like it. For example, he uses Rosalind to bring out Sarcasm. Rosalind's confession of love for Orlando is sarcastic. The way also Duke Senior keeps on saying that music and dancing is a way to take control of a situation is sarcastic. This is because it is typical of him in the entire play to be defensive rather than be offensive. The way in which the characters in the play fight for power are sarcastic. They want to be in power, yet they cannot pardon the hatred that they have among themselves.
Satire uses exaggeration to mock characters and their faults. Exaggeration is the amplification of a situation into something that is rugged and almost unimaginable.
Shakespeare uses exaggeration to bring out several issues in the play. The exaggerated hatred that is in the family is criticized. The way in which Duke Fredrick keeps on turning on Rosalind is exaggerated to mock the family's hatred. Rosalind's confession that she loves Orlando is also exaggerated. The way in which Duke Senior keeps on using music and dance to calm a situation is also exaggerated to criticize the fact that to calm situations is done by resolving issues and not through music and dance.
This is where a character conveys a different meaning of a situation or words than what is intended. There are two types of irony. They are a) Verbal irony is where the character says the exact opposite of what he actually means. b) Situational irony is actions that have different dimension than what is meant.
Shakespeare has used irony to criticize certain issues in the play. For example, it is ironical that some characters in the play suddenly change and become acutely likeable people when the Egypt goddess of marriage arrived in the scenes. It is ironic that the hatred dissolves immediately without any resolutions just because a goddess appeared.
Shakespeare in his book As You Like it has used irony, sarcasm, exaggeration to bring out satire. Therefore, sarcasm, irony, and exaggeration are devices that bring out satire in any piece of art.