one of the major themes of As You Like It is the contrast between country and court life with debates focussing on different points of view.
the first of these comes when duke senior describes how, at Arden, he could see 'toungues in trees", "sermons in stones" and had no enemy except the harshness of the elements of nature- "churlish chiding of the winter's wind". the pastoral existence was devoid of the "painted pomp" back at court which shows the carefree, pleasurable lifestyle that the duke was enjoying in Arden in contrast to the constant public haunt that he had to go through prior to his banishment. the words are romanticized and the mood is set for the rest of the play. Despite some natural perils, there was 'good in everything'. this tilts the argument in favor of pastoral existence. shakespeare highlights the educational, edifying and enlightening nature of this foray into the woods.
The argument between Touchstone and corin is also crucial in this regard and although touchstone wins over and Corin chooses to back out, it is obvious that Touchstone's points of argument are merely farcical and domineering whereas Corin's simple but logical rationale leaves more of an impact. Even Corin's admission of defeat does not mean that courtly manners are superior in fact it only showcases Corin’s sensibility in acknowledging that both of these co-exist and there are some acceptable norms at court which may seen ridicukous in the forest while some forest customs could prove to be inappropriate for the city.
Shakespeare also balances his showcasing of the advantages of pastoral verve by presenting some of its negative aspects and it’s ignorance for instance, the hauteur of the shepherdess Pheobe, Silvius’ blind and stupid affections and his unrealistic speech in verse. Even worse of these in the lack of knowledge of William and Audrey whom touchstone can easily mock, who are unaware of even basic wit for example Audrey’s humourous misinterpretation of the...