What Is the Role of the Forest in the Play?
The forest, alongside with urban landscape, can create unique atmosphere and vast space for characters’ development in various authors’ works. For example, in Shakespearean play The Two Gentlemen of Verona the forest becomes a high point of the whole story.
Being a part of authentic Medieval England forest itself represents a set of mind common for people living at that age. It is the same vast and full of original stories – both tragic and farcical. In Shakespeare’s work it plays different roles.
Valentine, one of the main characters, first comes to the forest for refuge from being banished away from his beloved Silvia. He feels betrayed and lonely and needs a place for thinking it over. The forest here plays a role of balm healing the wounds, a calming shelter: “shadowy desert, unfrequented woods,” place where Valentine can “sit alone, unseen of any, and to the nightingale’s complaining notes tune my distresses and record my woes” (Shakespeare, 2008).
The forest is also the home for outlaws – banished men who have to survive in a new world. It becomes their natural environment and source for living. Alongside with the development of plot the forest’s role changes – it becomes the centre of events where all the confessions made and each character’s destiny is decided. Being vast and somehow mystical it unites all the characters wherever way they were following before. It becomes a battlefield of collided fates, and also a canvas for new beginnings.
The setting in Shakespeare’s works is very significant. It often predicts in a way the further development of events. It can be clearly seen in all plays. For example, streets in Romeo and Juliet often serve the place for fights and public clashes as they make a spectacular view with all their steps and walls and squares. Juliet’s chamber hides the most personal and tender thoughts: “Come, night; come, Romeo” (Shakespeare, 2004). And the churchyard is the place for the saddest and most tragic scenes that is highly expected due to its intended use. Thus, it proves that any Shakespearean setting is very vivid and can be a self-sufficient character in itself.
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