Study Help Essay Questions

1. List the “town” characters in the play, enumerate their attributes, and discuss how they reflect town life. Use the same format for the “country” characters.

2. There are four pairs of lovers in the play. Characterize each couple and discuss the concept of love that they represent.

3. Give several examples showing how Shakespeare uses language to indicate class differences among the characters.

4. There are many words in the play that have changed in their meanings since Shakespeare’s time. Make a list of those significant words that are germane to a thorough understanding the play. Discuss how only a present-day meaning of the words can bring about a misunderstanding of the play.

5. What purpose does Rosalind’s disguise serve in the play?

6. Discuss the advantages of “town life” over that of “country life.” Reverse the situation. How does Shakespeare resolve this debate?

7. Of different types of love shown in the play, which does Shakespeare seem to favor? In which characters does this evince itself and to what extent?

8. Discuss the various types of humor in the play. Compare or contrast the wit of Touchstone with that of Jaques; with Corin; and with Rosalind.

9. Why is it necessary for the main characters to meet climactically in the Forest of Arden?

10. The Forest of Arden has been said to be, in actuality, the Forest of the Ardennes on the Meuse River in Europe. Yet, there is a Forest of Arden in England. Where do you think it is located? Why?

11. List the masque-like elements in the play.

12. What stage conventions were popular with Elizabethan audiences? Give specific references from the play to support your answers.

13. What use does Shakespeare make of shifting his scenes — that is, from a courtly scene to a pastoral scene, etc.?

14. Where is the dramatic climax in the play? Where is the literary climax in the play?

15. How do the characters reflect the time in which Shakespeare wrote?