In Keenan’s book, when I read:
“courtiers were expected to be richly dressed and to be generous patrons […] talented all-rounder, skillful in courtly conversations, sports, dancing and the arts - with an air of easy grace of ‘recklessness’ (Sprezzatura)”
I immediately thought of Orlando in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, who wins the heart of Rosalind simply by the way he speaks. He is a complex character, in that he was not raised officially in the courts, but he is definitely an “all-arounder” and still is filled “with an air of easy grace” or Sprezzatura (Until of course, he falls in love with Rosalind in which he produces the most terrible poetry). Because he wasn’t raised officially in the court though, he seems to dually represent the shepherd life life as well. In As You Like It, Shakespeare shows the distinction between court culture and the “shepherd” life through characters like Orlando and also others like Silvius and Phoebe.
Rosalind and Orlando from As You Like It directed by Kenneth Branagh
Another part of court culture made inherent in As You Like It, is the fact that Rosalind is the most dominant character whom also fixes the love problems in the end. In my class, we talked about how this could symbolize the authority and power of Queen Elizabeth, whom defied all doubts that women were capable of being a successful ruler. I think that Shakespeare knew that women were capable of ruling or worthy of having authority through characters like Rosalind. However, some may argue that because the Queen enjoyed watching these plays, Shakespeare might have put that in there to satisfy the queen, because after all, the “Court was wherever the Queen happened to be and was made up of all those who surrounded the Queen from servants to the courtiers themselves” (Sharnette). And, it suggests that the entertainment was probably geared to that specific audience and their political agenda.
Sharnette, Heather. "Elizabeth R: COURT LIFE." Elizabethan Court Life. N.p., 2014. Web. 23 Sept. 2015.