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Shakespeare's Representation of Weather, Climate and EnvironmentThe Early Modern 'Fated Sky'$
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Sophie Chiari

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474442527

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474442527.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

‘Winter and rough weather’: Arden’s Sterile Climate

‘Winter and rough weather’: Arden’s Sterile Climate

(p.80) Chapter 3 ‘Winter and rough weather’: Arden’s Sterile Climate
Shakespeare's Representation of Weather, Climate and Environment

Sophie Chiari

Edinburgh University Press

The third chapter turns to As You Like It (1599), a comedy obsessed with coldness and the winter gale which features an exiled Duke and a couple of lovers forced to make the best of a bad bargain in a freezing forest. Marked by a saturnalian atmosphere which favours melancholy and bitter-sweet songs to the detriment of the not-so-innocent games of love, the play alludes to several ritual times, themselves associated with various types of weather. However, coldness always prevails. Jolly and festive as the comedy may sometimes be, Arden’s air remains desperately frosty—a frostiness synonymous with sterility and tyranny. If springtime, ‘the only pretty ring-time’ (5.3.18), is duly announced, it never fully materialises at the end. As a result, even though the multiple marriages about to be celebrated apparently point to a satisfying resolution of the plot, the characters’ tirades, laden with clichés, still suggest frozen thoughts strongly reminiscent of Rabelais’s paroles gelées.

Keywords:   As You Like It, pastoral, wind, cold, Martinmas, Christmas, Shrove Tuesday, Rabelais

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