Does life make people what they are, or is life what a person makes of it? This question has been asked time and time again, and is still being argued over time and time again. Whether the author knew it or not, Shakespeare explored this question in his play As You Like It through the characters of the play. Characters who, like so many of his others, display typical human natures. Shakepeare seems to have captured a spirit in all of his characters that is so true to life that almost anyone can relate in some way or another.
Shakespeare is a writer who seems to so easily capture the true nature of people. Of course, never lacking humor as he portrays these characteristics. What might be harsh reality written by someone else, becomes that everyone can laugh at--even if that reality is about themselves.
Shakespeare has commonly explored the subjects of love, honor, revenge, justice, and countless others. Put these things together and he has explored the question of life and what makes a person's life what it is, or what makes a person who they are.
I would like to point out that in Shakespeare's play, As You Like It, there are characters who don't fit the mold of normal human life. As in life, there are always exceptions to the rule. However, for the purpose of writing a paper that doesn't turn into a book, I would like to focus on the characters, and aspects of the characters, that come most closely to personifying a typical view of normalcy.
First of all I would like to point out the obvious. There are just some things that a person is bound to have influenced by their circumstances. For example, if a person lives in France they will more than likely speak French. Depending on where exactly in France they live, they will have one accent or another. In As You Like It we see this obvious influence clearly displayed:
Orl. Where dwell you pretty youth?
Ros. With this shepherdess, my sister; here in the skirts of the forest, like fringe upon a petticoat.
Orl. Are you a native of this place?
Ros. As the cony that you see dwell where she is kindled.1
Rosalind goes on to explain that she got her accent from an old religious uncle of hers who taught her to speak, an uncle from the inland who was accustomed to the court. We know that she was lying, but whether she got her accent from being in the court or from an uncle who was, she was influenced by the circumstances that life presented her with. This influence is apparent, clearly seen--Orlando knew right away that she was not really from the forest. Again, there are always exceptions to the rule. Someone might speak so many different languages or have acquired such a combination of accents that you might not be able to tell anything about them from their speaking. In general though, it is usually apparent to some extent where a person's influence came from in an area such as speech.
Some things aren't so apparent. Take men, in general, for example....