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Analysis Of Shakespeare's “As You Like It”

956 words - 4 pages

Analysis of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”

Act I:
Orlando, the youngest son of the recently deceased Sir Rowland de Bois, describes his unfortunate state of affairs to Adam, Sir Rowland’s loyal former servant. Upon his father’s death, Orlando was bequeathed a mere 1,000 crowns, a paltry sum for a young man of his social background. His only hope for advancement is if his brother, Oliver, honours their father’s wish and provides him with a decent education. Oliver, as the eldest son, inherited virtually everything in his father’s estate, yet he not only neglects this charge but actively disobeys it. Although he arranges for his other brother, Jaques, to attend school, Oliver refuses to ...view middle of the document...

Oliver asks Charles for the news at court, and Charles reports that Duke Senior has been usurped by his younger brother, Duke Frederick, and has fled with a number of loyal lords to the Forest of Ardenne. Because the noblemen have forfeited their land and wealth by going into voluntary exile, Duke Frederick allows them to wander unmolested. When Oliver asks if Senior’s daughter, Rosalind, has been banished, Charles says that the girl remains at court. Not only does Duke Frederick love Rosalind as though she is his own daughter, but the duke’s daughter, Celia, has a great friendship with her cousin and cannot bear to be parted from her. Charles asserts that two ladies never loved as Celia and Rosalind do. Charles then admits his real reason for coming to see Oliver: he has heard rumours that Orlando plans to disguise himself in order to enter a wrestling match at the royal court. Because Charles’s reputation depends upon the brutal defeat of all of his opponents, he worries that he will harm Orlando. He begs Oliver to intervene on his brother’s behalf, but Oliver replies that Orlando is a conniving and deceitful scoundrel. He convinces Charles that Orlando will use poison or some other trick in order to bring down the wrestler. Charles threatens to repay Orlando in kind, and Oliver, pleased with Charles’s promise, plots a way to deliver his brother to the wrestling ring.

Rosalind is depressed over the banishment of her father, Duke Senior. Her cousin, Celia, attempts to cheer her up. Celia promises that as the sole heir of the usurping Duke Frederick, she will give the throne to Rosalind upon his death. In gratitude, Rosalind promises to be less melancholy, and the two women wittily discuss the roles of “Fortune” and “Nature”...

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