nut free nerd

thoughts of a nut allergic book lover

Dear AS YOU LIKE IT by William Shakespeare: My favorite in a certain way?

Dear As You Like It by William Shakespeare:

Shakespeare and I have always had a bit of a love-hate relationship. While I appreciate his clever wordplay and legacy as a writer, I’ve just never been a huge fan of his plays. I always maintained that I prefer seeing plays performed rather than reading them on paper, and yet I had never actually put this theory to the test with Shakespeare–that is, until I saw you performed at Shakespeare’s Globe in London.

My friends and I decided to see you on a whim at the very tail end of my year at Oxford. We got standing tickets and stood almost right up against the stage. It was amazing to stand in a place associated with so much history and an astonishing literary and theatrical legacy. I haven’t seen many live performances of plays, so this occasion felt particularly special. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but it was fantastic. I loved the whimsical atmosphere created by their costumes and sparse props, as well as the fun jig they danced at the very end. It was clear to by the end of the performance that I genuinely do enjoy Shakespeare’s plays when they’re performed.

“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages.”

As You Like It by William Shakespeare

Cut to two years later, when I finally decide to pick you up and complete the other half of this experiment.

On the one hand, I enjoyed reading you much more than other Shakespeare plays I’ve read. Your story is so engaging, and the emotions of it really struck a chord with me. I think we’ve all felt like Orlando and Rosalind at some point in our lives–afraid to tell our crush that we have feelings for them, yet also wanting to talk about it with anyone who will listen. However, I think much of my enjoyment also stemmed from having seen you performed prior to reading you. At one point I came across a scene that I reread three or four times because I could remember those lines being performed on stage so vividly. One of my most favorite things about reading is associating memories with what I read, and I love that you will always remind me of that amazing performance in London.

And yet…

My enjoyment in reading you still somehow felt relative to my previous experiences reading other works by Shakespeare. Put differently: You may be one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, but Shakespeare is still not one of my favorite things to read. While I acknowledge that his writing is poignant and cleaver and witty and funny, it always just feels like something misses the mark for me.

With that being said, I’d still consider my experience of reading you to be a success, As You Like It. This whole experiment made me think about Shakespeare’s plays in a different way, and makes me want to see even more of them performed now. I’ve accepted that I will likely never love the Bard’s work, but I’m glad I’ve found a bit of a recipe that will help me enjoy it more.




7 responses to “Dear AS YOU LIKE IT by William Shakespeare: My favorite in a certain way?”

  1. True, his plays are much easier to watch than read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that’s totally fair about preferring to see plays performed- that’s how they’re meant to be enjoyed (and something my mum always says and she’s a drama teacher 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love to have the support of a drama teacher! 🙂


  3. I read Othello as part of my English class this year and I really enjoyed analyzing the play and its characters but I am not sure if I would have liked it just as much when reading Shakespeare on my own, haha. Unfortunately, I have realized that I am not the biggest theatre fan. 😅

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes reading it in a class is so helpful! That guidance can make such a difference.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. […] Holly @Nut Free Nerd– Many of you may already know Holly’s brilliant blog- but if you, theny you’re in for a real treat! I really enjoy her takes on classics and like getting great recs on all kinds of lit fic. That’s why I LOVE her unique takes on the TTT meme- her one lately on Opening Lines in Classic Novels that Feel Very Relevant was amazing, but you can check out a few more here. Holly also has some great posts on classic recs for every month. Her taste is so sophisticated and brings books I’d never heard of to my attention 😊 And besides all her fun posts and lists, she also writes reviews in such a unique way, addressing them as a letter to the book itself! […]


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About ME, Holly

former english major, current twenty-something book lover, allergic to nuts. drop me a line at or on instagram.


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