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    “As You like It” by William Shakespeare Essay

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    “As You like It” was written by William Shakespeare, and published by the Penguin Group in 1963. The play is 138 pages. “As You Like It” is a happy, romantic Shakespearean comedy. It is a pleasurable play filled with witty language and unique characters. Its love of nature, love of falling in love, and love of families makes it easily accessible to all that read or see it. Duke Senior is one of the protagonist of the play His ducal rights are taken away from him by his younger brother, Frederick. He leads a life of exile in the Forest of Arden with some of his lords.

    His ducal rights are restored to him towards the end of the play when his brother has a moral conversion. Duke Frederick is one of the antagonist of the play. He is a contrast in every respect to Duke Senior. Towards the end of the play he tries to amend for his past ways. Touchstone is a fool in the Duke’s court. He accompanies Rosalind and Celia to the Forest of Arden. Oliver de Boys is the eldest son of Sir Rowland de Boys and one of the antagonists of the play. He denies his brother Orlando his rightful inheritance and the education that is due to him.

    Wicked and villainous by nature, he wants to have Orlando killed. However, Orlando saves him from a deadly snake and a fierce lioness, which changes Oliver’s attitude. Orlando de Boys is a protagonist of the play. To escape his brother’s plot to kill him, he goes to the forest, courts Rosalind, and weds her. Rosalind is the daughter of Duke Senior and the heroine of the play. Banished by Duke Frederick, she goes to the forest under the disguise of Ganymede. She displays wit, intelligence, and alertness. At the end of the play, she orchestrates all of the marriages, including her own to Orlando.

    Celia, the daughter of Duke Frederick is Rosalind’s companion. She is a fine and likable lady who is overshadowed by the more commanding Rosalind. Jaques is one of the lords attending to Duke Senior . He is a critic of the society in the forest and all of life. The play moves between two worlds: the world of Duke Frederick’s court and that of the Forest of Arden. The court is characterized by hatred, deception, and envy. In contrast, the Forest of Arden is characterized by freedom, beauty, and naturalness. The court supposedly represents sophisticated behavior in a civilized society.

    By contrast, the forest is a place of natural behavior. There, Duke Senior and his co-mates lead a life which is exempt from public haunt. The opening scene of the play is set in the orchard of Oliver. As the play opens, Orlando is complaining to Adam, his old faithful servant, about the unfair treatment meted out to him by his oldest brother, Oliver. It is quickly established that there is deep conflict between the two brothers. It is also learned, through conversation, that there is a deep and similar problem between Duke Frederick and Duke Senior. The play is a merry one.

    Except for occasional clouds that threaten the sky temporarily, As You Like It is full of sunshine, love, laughter, and song. The predominant mood of the play is one of cheerfulness, light-hearted gaiety, and laughter. It is a pure and fun romantic comedy. The Forest of Arden especially contributes to this mood because of the freedom and happiness it possessed. In Act 1 Orlando tells Adam about his grievances with his elder brother, Oliver, who is cheating him out of his share of his father’s money. Oliver enters, Adam hides, and Orlando confronts him about the treatment he has received since their father died.

    They begin fighting and Adam comes forward to break up the squabble. Adam and Orlando leave, and Oliver summons Charles, the Duke’s wrestler. They talk about the new Duke, who is the younger brother of the old one, who was sent into exile. His daughter Rosalind, however, is staying with the new Duke and his daughter. He then speaks to Charles about Orlando wrestling him tomorrow, and wants the boy to be harmed. In scene 2 of Act 1Celia and her cousin Rosalind enter and Celia asks Rosalind why she is not happy. Rosalind answers it is because of her father’s banishment into the Forest of Arden.

    Touchstone, enters and tells the girls about the wrestling match that is about to take place. He describes the gruesome nature of the wrestling to them, but the women decide to attend anyway. Monsieur Le Beau enters as well and takes them to the match. When they arrive, Le Beau asks them to speak with Orlando to try to talk him out of wrestling. They do, but he decides to do it anyway. The match begins and Orlando wins which earns him praise from Duke Frederick. The Duke asks him who his father is and when he replies Rowland De Boys, the Duke takes away his praise.

    De Boys, when alive, was a supporter of the exiled Duke Senior. Orlando, however, is proud of who he is and expresses this to the young women. Rosalind gives him a chain to wear around his neck. The women leave and Le Beau enters giving praise but warns Orlando that he should leave. Orlando consents but asks which of the women is the Duke’s daughter. Orlando leaves and is happy that he has fallen in love with Rosalind. In the third scene Celia asks Rosalind what is on her mind, but at first Rosalind will not tell her. She then recants and admits she is in love with Orlando.

    Celia is happy for her, and they are discussing it when Duke Frederick answers and tells Rosalind she is banished. The only reason he gives is that she is her father’s daughter and therefore a traitor. Celia argues with him, entreating him to let Rosalind stay because they are extremely close, but he tells her that Rosalind is taking away praise from her. Celia does not care, and when the Duke leaves, she decides that they should go together to the Forest of Arden to live with the banished ex-duke. Celia says that she cannot live without Rosalind, so Rosalind agrees.

    They decide to dress up as a country brother and sister to make their travel safer. Act 2 begins with the banished Duke Senior and his comrades are sitting in the forest of Arden discussing how much they love their life there. They then hold a conversation about a man at court, Jaques. In the second scene Duke Frederick finds that Celia, Rosalind, and Touchstone are missing. One of Celia’s attendants tells him that she overheard the girls talking about Orlando, and that he is probably with them wherever they are. The Duke sends men to Orlando’s house to find him and bring him back.

    While Orlando is at home, his servant and friend Adam, who is much older than he, tells him that his brother is planning to kill him. Oliver is jealous of his successes wrestling, and sick of supporting him. Adam warns Orlando to leave, but Orlando does not know where to go. Adam then offers him the money he has saved for his old age. Orlando does not want to take it, but they decide they will leave together. In the scene Rosalind, dressed as the boy Ganymede, Celia, dressed as the country girl, Aliena, and Touchstone reach the Forest of Arden. They are extremely tired when they come upon an old and young shepherd.

    The younger, Silvius, is love stricken, and the older, Corin, is trying to tell him how to deal with it. Silvius does not think that Corin knows how he feels though he says he has experience with love. The three travelers listen to the conversation while hiding from the men. Rosalind states that she understands how the boy feels because of her feelings for Orlando. They catch Corin’s attention and ask him if there is anywhere they can stay. He tells them that the man he works for would not let them stay, but when they offer to buy the place, he takes them to him.

    In the forest, Duke Senior’s comrades are singing. Amien tries to cheer up Jaques but is not having any luck. They leave to go the Duke’s banquet. In scene 6 Adam and Orlando are in Arden Forest and Adam stops because he is so hungry. Orlando leaves him, vowing to find him food. In Scene 7: Duke Senior throws a feast with his men and he summons Jacques. Jaques for once looks happy, and the Duke asks him why. He tells him he met a fool that greatly increased his happiness with his words. Orlando enters the feast threatening the men not to eat another bite before he can take some back to Adam.

    The feasters are taken aback at his behavior, and the Duke asks him why he is acting in such away. Orlando then tells them about Adam starving, and the Duke reply is that he would get more out of gently asking. Orlando tells them that he thought people had to be rough in the forest, and he leaves to get Adam. When he comes back they all eat, and the Duke overhears Adam and Orlando talking about Sir Rowland De Boys and he welcomes the son of some he loved. Act 3 begins when Duke Frederick tells Oliver he has one year to bring forth Orlando.

    Until that time, anything Oliver has worth seizing becomes the Dukes. Oliver is upset, but does nothing about it. In scene 2 Orlando hangs on the forest trees poems he writes for Rosalind. He leaves and Touchstone enters with Corin and they commence into a battle of wits, which Corin is no match for. Rosalind enters reading a poem she found about herself on a tree. Touchstone makes fun of her because he thinks she is making up verses about herself. Celia, too, enters bearing a poem from a tree and the girls discuss who could have put it there.

    Celia tells her that Orlando wrote the poems and Rosalind is excited. Orlando then enters with Jaques who is telling him that he should not be so in love. Jaques leaves, and Rosalind enters as Ganymede and begins talking to Orlando. She tells him that she can cure his lovesickness, but to do so he has to pretend she is Rosalind and come to court her everyday. He agrees and they part. In scene 3 Touchstone decides that he wants to marry a woman named Audrey. Jaques comes upon them in the forest when the priest arrives and offers to give the woman away.

    He then tells Touchstone that he should wait until they get married in a real church. In the fourth scene, Rosalind and Celia in their disguises discuss the fact that Orlando did not come this morning like he swore he would. Rosalind wants to cry because of this. Celia tells her that Orlando is living with her father in the woods, and Rosalind says how yesterday she ran into the duke in her disguise. Corin enters and asks them if they want to come see Silvius and the woman he loves, Phoebe. Hoping to ease her own heartache, Rosalind agrees for them. In scene 5, Silvius and Phoebe sit talking in the forest.

    Silvius professes his love for her, but she does not show the treatment towards him. Rosalind, Celia, and Corin come upon them, and Rosalind intervenes and begins to talk toPhoebe for her treatment of Silvius. Instead of becoming angry with “Ganymede,” Phoebe falls in love with him and leaves to write him a letter that Silvius, not knowing her feelings, agrees to take to him. In act 4, Orlando has a meeting with Rosalind, dressed as Ganymede, and they work through Orlando’s feelings about her. Rosalind tells him that they have to have a mock wedding with Celia as the minister.

    Orlando agrees and they gather to perform the service. Afterwards, Orlando leaves pledging he will be back in an hour. Rosalind then expresses to Celia how much she truly loves him. In scene 2 the Duke’s men celebrate that they have killed a deer, and prepare to bring it to the Duke. In the third scene Phoebe sends a letter to Ganymede through Silvius. Silvius, not knowing what it contains delivers it thinking that she is yelling at the boy. At first Rosalind thinks that Silvius wrote the letter and begins reading it aloud until she realizes that Phoebe is asking him/her to marry her.

    Rosalind sends Silvius with a reply refusing her offer and saying that if she loved him, she would marry Silvius because he wants her so much. Silvius leaves and Celia and Rosalind discuss the fact that Orlando has not returned as he said he would. As they are speaking, Oliver comes into the scene looking for the shepherdess and her brother who own the house. They admit that it is them and he tells them why Orlando has not come. Oliver was asleep in the forest when Orlando came along and saw a mountain lion was stalking him.

    Orlando, although his brother wants to kill him, decided he could not leave him there to die and begins to wrestle with the lion. He beats the mountain lion but is wounded on the arm. Oliver awakens, and seeing what his brother has done, he could never hurt him or think badly of him again. Orlando sent a bloody rag to give to Rosalind because he felt so bad about missing their meeting. Rosalind faints at the sight of it, and they decide to carry her back to the cottage. Oliver questions her behavior, since she is supposed to be a boy, but he goes with them to carry her.

    Act 5 when Touchstone and Audrey are together in the forest and Audrey is complaining about them not getting married. Another man named William who wants to marry her enters and he and Touchstone engage in a battle of wits. Touchstone overpowers the man, and he leaves. Corin enters telling the two that Aliena and Ganymede want to see them and they all go. In scene 2, Oliver and Aliena fall in love and plan to be married the following day. Orlando comes to Rosalind as Ganymede for help because he feels it is unfair that his brother should have is love and he cannot.

    Ganymede tells him that she is a magician and can produce the real Rosalind at the wedding for him to marry if he wants it. He is elated when Silvius and Phoebe enter. Phoebe is mad that Rosalind showed Silvius the letter that she wrote. The four make comments on what love is, and Rosalind comes up with a solution. She tells them all to come to the church tomorrow. Orlando will marry Rosalind (herself) and she, if she marries a woman, will marry Phoebe. Knowing this will not happen she has Phoebe promise to marry Silvius in her place if Phoebe in the end refuses to marry her.

    Phoebe promises, and Rosalind tells Silvius to come as well because she knows Phoebe will not be marrying her. They all leave to prepare for the next day. In the third scene, Touchstone and Audrey, who are preparing for their wedding the next day, listen as two pages sing a song about love. In Scene 4, Duke Senior and Orlando talk about how Ganymede is producing Rosalind for the wedding. Rosalind then enters as Ganymede and reminds the lovers of the promises they made. She also asks the Duke if his daughter comes if he will let her marry Orlando. He agrees. Ganymede leaves and Touchstone enters with Audrey.

    Touchstone talks to the Duke and the Duke surmises that he is a man who uses his job as a fool to cover up his strong wit. Rosalind, Celia, and Hymen, the God of Marriage, enter and everyone realizes who they really are. Hymen makes each couple swear to each other, and as they are doing so the Oliver and Orlando’s other brother Jaques De Boys interrupts. He tells them that Duke Frederick, knowing that great men kept leaving court and going to the forest, decided that he should come battle Duke Senior. On his way he met a religious man, however, who talked him out of his plan and told him to give up his crown as Duke.

    Duke Senior is then again the real Duke. As his first act of power, the Duke restores Oliver’s land to him and his niece, Celia, and makes Orlando his heir. The other Jaques decides he will go to Duke Frederick and they cannot talk him out of it. Everyone except Rosalind exits. Finally in the Epilogue: Rosalind enters as the boy actor who played her, and encourages the men and women in the audience to fall in love. Two of the leading figures undergo major changes. Oliver and Duke Ferdinand make amends for their evil treatment of their brothers. The major theme of the play is the importance of true love.

    Romantic love characterized by true and deep emotions, is represented by Orlando, and Rosalind. Touchstone’s love for Audrey is largely based on lest and Silvia’s love for Phoebe is artificial. By developing varied types of love, Shakespeare clearly points out the beauty of true love. An example from the play is when Oliver comes to the forest of Arden, he falls in love with Celia at first glance; it is a shallow love in comparison to that of Orlando’s love for Rosalind because true love is not only based on the physical appearance, but also on what the two people feel inside for each other.

    There are not any instances when Shakespeare is poking fun at the audience. I was satisfied with the way the play ended because the brothers conflicts were resolved and true love prevailed between Orlando and Rosalind. The moral implications that can be applied to present-day living conditions involves the conflict between the two brothers in the play. I always been told blood is thicker than water. So no matter what a brother or sister might do to you, you should be able to forgive them because at the end of any given day when push come to shove family is supposed to stick together.

    Four famous quotes are: “I have as much of my father in me as you, albeit I confess your coming before me is earer to his reverence. ” “You know my father hath no child but I, nor none is like to have; and truly, when he dies, thou shalt be his heir; for what he hath taken away from thy father perforce, I will render thee again in affection. ” “Yet your mistrust can not make me a traitor. ” “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players. ” Oliver’s soliloquy from act l scene1: ” Farewell, good Charles.

    Now will I stir this gamester. I hope I shall see an end of him; for my soul, yet I know not why, hates nothing more than he. Yet he’s gentle, never schooled and yet learned, full of noble device, of all sorts enchantingly beloved; and indeed so much in the heart of the world, and especially of my own people, who best know him, that I am altogether misprized. But it shall not be so long; this wrestler shall be clear all. Nothing remains but that I kindle the boy thither, which now I”ll go about. “

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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