We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is the Green World?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In his discussion of William Shakespeare’s works, literary critic Northrop Frye coined the term “The Green World” in order to describe a particular environment that recurs throughout literature. In literary tradition, a hero must undergo several steps before being able to overcome his or her particular challenges. Often, a character will disappear into a perfectly natural environment, most often a forest, in order to confront inner obstacles and gain personal insight. The Green World adventures generally offer elements of magic, supernatural power, and reigning chaos, but must be survived in order to restore balance to the world.

Even in Shakespeare’s time, dense forests remained largely impenetrable and dark places. Heavy woods like the Black Forest of Europe were considered great places of fear and possibly of dark magic Frequently, Shakespeare would set one of these transformative areas on the edge of a large city, allowing his characters to easily escape from a rigid, law-based City World into a nature-run world nearby.

In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, four young characters are denied the marriages they wish in the city, and escape into the forest to hide from their families. Yet instead of providing a safe haven, the Green World of the play is in tremendous chaotic upheaval. The four young lovers become caught in the plots of the fairy rulers of the forest, and cannot get out until each falls in love with the correct person, accomplished by a fairy charm. Once they have found their correct partners, they are able to escape the forest and convince their families of their proper marriage.

In another Shakespeare comedy, As You Like It, the Green World is again used to sort out who should marry who. Rosalind and Celia enter the Forest of Arden to find Rosalind’s father, an exiled duke. While stuck inside the woods, four couples become hopelessly entangled in love stories and only Rosalind’s level head can sort out the problems. Once this goal is accomplished, Rosalind is able to lead the company out of the forest and even restore her father to his rightful place

The Green World frequently is depicted as a maternal place, particularly in the work of Shakespeare. Women are forced to flee to the forest after the male-run city world threatens their life or livelihood. Several women, Rosalind and Celia among them, enter the forest disguised as men, but do not leave until they resume their roles as women. In both A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It, the forest is considered a polar opposite to the City World, female-oriented instead of male, following laws of nature instead of laws of man.

Scholars suggest that the forests are largely metaphorical, and Shakespeare seems to have left clues throughout his Green World plays that would indicate that the forests are more than simply woods. Besides populating them with fairies and magic, several creatures non-native to European forests appear, including lions and palm trees.

The Green World is necessary to restore balance to the regular world. While the City world is rigidly controlled by law, the forest world is run by total chaos. In the hero’s journey, a person raised in the city world must enter the forest to gain insight into himself. In Shakespeare’s work, the necessity is even more clear, as marriage and life cannot continue on their correct courses until the extremes of the city regain balance with the forces of the Green World.

Just as Shakespeare ingeniously employed this concept in his plays, one can create their own "Green World" at home with a home putting green. This natural haven offers golfers a sanctuary to refine their skills, overcome obstacles, and gain personal insight, much like the heroes in literature. By practicing in this green oasis, players can bring balance to their golfing world and experience the magic of improvement right at their doorstep.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for Language & Humanities. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
Discussion Comments
By TrogJoe19 — On Jan 30, 2011

The Celts believed trees to be sacred and to possess spirits. Various peoples all over the world have also held similar beliefs. The world of the forest was a magnificent pantheon, but the demons of the trees have been upset and chased away by fearless and disrespectful modern man.

By Proxy414 — On Jan 28, 2011

It is sad that so much of our green world is disappearing today. We learn of large and mysterious forests only through fantasy books and epic stories. The forests of our day are all but tame.

By JavaGhoul — On Jan 27, 2011

The "Green World" of Shakespeare's day could be compared to the modern jungle or rainforest. With perils on every side and potentially hostile native peoples, these formed a dangerous and mysterious environment. Being in a lit and civilized city also presented challenges, but of an entirely different kind, such as that of social rigidity and societal expectations.

By anon112864 — On Sep 22, 2010

Your article asserts that both Rosalind and Celia enter the Forest of Arden disguised as men. Celia does not disguise herself as a man. She puts on "poor and mean attire" and calls herself "Aliena." When they are in the forest, Rosalind, in disguise as a boy, refers to Celia as "sister."

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
Learn more
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.