As You Like It (a Later Festive Comedy)
In this play, Duke Frederick (the younger duke) usurps his older brother, Duke Senior, and banishes him to the Forest of Arden. Frederick goes on to banish Duke Senior's daughter Rosalind. Frederick's daughter, Celia (Rosalind's cousin) flees her evil father with Rosalind and they head (along with Touchstone, the clown) to the Forest of Arden. Before leaving, though, Rosalind falls in love with Orlando and he with her after he beats Charles in a wrestling match. Orlando, the younger son of Sir Rowland, had rebelled at being kept a virtual prisoner by his older brother, Oliver. Duke Frederick and Oliver had hoped that Charles would kill or cripple Orlando in the match, but Orlando managed to throw and injure Charles. Soon after, Orlando flees his older brother, Oliver, after their servant Adam warns Orlando of Oliver's plans to kill him. Orlando and Adam also flee to the Forest of Arden. Duke Frederick, upon finding Celia, Rosalind, and Orlando missing, orders Oliver to find them, or face banishment himself.
In the Forest, the cousins, disguised as Ganymede (a male) and Aliena, and the clown Touchstone purchase a shepherd's hut, a flock, and a pasture from two shepherds, Corin and Silvius. In another part of the forest, the banished Duke Senior discusses the philosophizing of his melancholy courier Jaques, who is even more mad and morose than usual due to the singing of another courtier, Amiens. When Duke Senior meets him, however, Jaques is now merry, having met the clever fool, Touchstone, in the forest. Meanwhile, Orlando has been desperately searching for food, and, with a drawn sword, he enters Duke Senior's banqueting place and demands food. However, Duke Senior greets Orlando with unexpected kindness and welcomes him and Adam to his camp.
Orlando, knowing that Rosalind is somewhere in the forest, wanders through the forest hanging love verses to Rosalind upon the branches of trees. Rosalind finds the verses, and, pretending to be a male (Ganymede), she talks at length with Orlando about his true love, Rosalind. As Ganymede, she offers to pose as Rosalind and to allow Orlando to practice his wooing with her. Meanwhile, Touchstone is planning his own romance with Audrey (a sheepherder), though a commoner named William also seeks Audrey until Touchstone scares him off. "Ganymede" witnesses the love affair of Phebe and Silvius, two shepherds; Phebe treats Silvius coldly and "Ganymede" chides her for it, but Phebe instantly falls in love with "Ganymede", thinking Rosalind is a he. After "Ganymede" leaves, Phebe decides that she will write a love letter to "him" and have Silvius deliver it.
Silvius delivers the letter, and Rosalind decides that she will remedy the situation and help Silvius get Phebe by eventually revealing that "Ganymede" is a she. The exiled Oliver finds "Ganymede" and tells "him" that, while sleeping in the forest, he was saved from the attack of a lioness by his brother Orlando. Orlando was wounded and asked Oliver to bring a bloody napkin as proof of the fight and as explanation for missing his appointment with "Ganymede". "Ganymede" faints, then pretends that she was faking, though Oliver comes to realize that "Ganymede" is really Rosalind.
Orlando and Oliver are now reconciled, and Oliver tells his brother that he has fallen in love with "Aliena", the disguised Celia. They will be married the next day. Orlando returns to "Ganymede", still not knowing it is Rosalind because Oliver keeps her secret. He laments that he cannot marry his Rosalind tomorrow, but "Ganymede" promises to make it possible via magic. At the wedding, "Ganymede" reveals that "he" is actually Rosalind, causing Orlando to rejoice. Additionally, Phebe is forced to marry Silvius since she can no longer marry "Ganymede". Now, Hymen, the god of marriage, marries Orlando and Rosalind, Oliver and Celia, Silvius and Phebe, & Touchstone and Audrey. After the wedding, Jaques de Boys (a new Jaques), a long lost brother of Oliver and Orlando arrives with the news that Duke Frederick was converted to good by an old religious man, and has requested that all of the banished people return home and have their estates back. Lastly, Rosalind recites an epilogue, requesting the audience enjoy the play as much as they please, and not more. Note that this play included the famous line "All's the world's a stage", spoken by the Jaques (II,vii,140), in addition to the text for the song "Blow, Blow, Though Winter Wind" (II,vii,174).
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Last Modified April 17, 2002