As U Like It Essay, Research Paper
As You Like It
The play As You Like It was written between the years of 1598 and 1599. Many knew this play as a romantic comedy. As You Like It is a play with two main plots: there is the conflict between Orlando and his older brother Oliver, and there is the usurpation of the throne by Duke Frederick from his brother Duke Senior. The original play was made up of songs and joking banters. But on a deeper level the play provides the chance for the main character Rosalind to discuss a host of subjects and emotions throughout the play through her eyes.
In the beginning of play, Duke Frederick overthrows his older brother, Duke Senior, and banishes him to the Forest of Arden. Duke Frederick allows Duke Senior’s daughter Rosalind to stay. Rosalind falls in love with Orlando and he with her after he beats Charles in a wrestling match. 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 to the Forest of Arden. Orlando had rebelled at being kept a 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 Rosalind 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 he enters Duke Senior’s banqueting place and demands food. Duke Senior greets Orlando with unexpected kindness and welcomes him and Adam to his camp.
Orlando, knows that Rosalind is somewhere in the forest. He 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 conversation with her.
Meanwhile, Touchstone is planning his own romance with Audrey 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 woman. 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 and then pretends it was a fake faint. 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 who is 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 says that he cannot marry his Rosalind tomorrow, but Ganymede promises to make it possible. 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. At the end of the play, Rosalind recites an epilogue, requesting the audience enjoy the play as much as they please, and not more.
This play was very confusing. It was very hard to follow because so many actors would have numerous roles. Once I read the play I could appreciate it more. I really could not find anything very amusing in the play. The parts where people were laughing I found myself confused. I am more of a slapstick comedy type of person. This was a very well cast play. The actors and actresses used good projection in their voices when emphasis was need. Overall, I thought it not good. It would maybe be good as a story, but not as a comedy.