As you like it Plot Overview

As you like it Plot Overview

As you like it Brief Introduction

As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare. It is believed to have been written in 1599 and first published in the First Folio in 1623. As a musical comedy, the play is believed to have had songs more than any of the other Shakespeare’s plays.

As you like it Plot

The play begins with Orlando de Boys, complaining to Adam, the old faithful family servant, about the ill treatment of the former by Oliver de Boys, his brother. Their father, Sir Rowland de Boys had handed over the responsibility of the well being of his sons to Oliver, the eldest of the three sons, but sadly Oliver had been inefficient in taking due care of his brothers. A heated argument takes place between the two brothers when Oliver enters. Oliver manages to know the impending plan of Orlando to wrestle with Charles, Duke Fredrick’s wrestler. Oliver instigates Charles to break Orlando’s neck as a matter of revenge.

The competition takes place the next day wherein Celia and Rosalind who are Duke Fredrick’s daughter and niece respectively, witness it. Although Charles had successfully defeated his three earlier opponents, he remains defeated in the hands of Orlando. Rosalind, Duke Senior’s daughter, is charmed by the winner Orlando and presents him with a chain marking his victory. These are the sweet silent moments transpired between Rosalind and Orlando, as both of them remain quiet then, but are still in the sway of the emotion of love.

Later, Rosalind confesses her love for Orlando to Celia. They have a conversation about what kind of affair they would have. Duke Frederick grows angry over Rosalind and banishes her from the court, even after knowing his daughter Celia’s affection towards Rosalind. Celia pleads with her father but all in vain. Upon this, the two cousins make plans to go to Forest of Arden along with Touchstone, court’s jester. This trio goes disguised to join Duke Senior in the forest.

Rosalind assumes the dress of a young man and takes the name Ganymede, while Celia dresses as a common shepherdess by the name Aliena. Meanwhile, upon finding Rosalind and Celia absent from the court, Duke Frederick becomes red with rage and holds Orland responsible for all the menace. He orders a search party for Orlando, under the leadership of Oliver.

Orlando who has got the information about the same from Adam and thus even they leave for the countryside to accidentally meet Duke Senior, who is delighted to meet the duo. Duke Senior is living a delightful life away from the hustle and bustle of the mechanized life of the court. The disguised trio of Rosalind, Celia and Touchstone meet Silvius, a young Shepherd declaring his unrequited love for Phoebe, a shepherdess. They also meet Corin, an old shepherd who is looking for buyers of a property, so that it is taken care by someone.

Rosalind disguised as Ganymede buys the property. Touchstone spends much time in the company of Audrey, a country wench. Jaques, a sad discontented nobleman of Duke Senior’s company, becomes fascinated by Touchstone. Orlando writes love poems for Rosalind in the forest which she happens to see. When Celia and Rosalind meet Orlando, Rosalind suggests that Orlando should treat him as Rosalind in order to learn lessons of wooing from Ganymede. But sometimes Orlando turns up late for those learning sessions and once the latter did not even show up.

Meanwhile, Duke Fredrick sends Oliver to search for Orlando, Celia, and Rosalind assuming that they must be together. The two brothers, Oliver and Orlando, are reconciled when Orlando saves Oliver from a lion. Oliver narrates this incident to the two cousins and eventually falls in love with Celia. Upon hearing this incident, Rosalind disguised as Ganymede comes out of her distraught state.

Orlando tells Rosalind that his brother’s marriage is to take place the next day and wishes he could marry his own beloved. Not only this Phoebe has also fallen for the disguised Rosalind viz. Ganymede and has become increasingly cruel in the rejection of Silvius. Rosalind( Ganymede) promises that Ganymede will wed Phoebe if Ganymede will ever marry a woman, and she makes everyone pledge to meet the next day at the wedding. They all agree.

The following day, upon revealing her identity as Rosalind, Phoebe later gets married to Silvius, Rosalind to Orlando, Touchstone to Audrey and Celia to Oliver. The marriage is led by Hymen, the God of marriage as he appears in the masque. There is an entry of a new character, Jaques de Boys who introduces himself as “the second son of old Sir of Rowland.” He tells that Duke Fredrick has met a religious hermit and is now converted.

Duke Senior is happy to have met his daughter and his throne is restored to him. The guests continue dancing, ecstatic in the knowledge that they will return to the royal court soon. At the end of the play, Rosalind addresses the audience in a short epilogue.

Submitted by: RIDHI ARORA

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