As You Like It

Story of a Shakespearean Drama (comedy)

As You Like It, Act 5, Scene 4 (Shakespeare) by Peter Simon is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

Once upon a time, an evil duke called Frederick stole the dukedom that belonged to his brother and sent him into exile. His brother moved into the Forest of Arden, where he lived as a courageous forester, similar to what Robin Hood did in Sherwood Forest, England.

Rosalind, daughter of the expelled duke, stayed with Celia, daughter of Frederick, and the two loved each other more than most sisters. Rosalind and Celia attended a wrestling competition that took place at Court one day. Charles, a renowned wrestler who had slain several opponents in similar matches, was present. Orlando, the young man he was to wrestle with, was so frail and young that Rosalind and Celia assumed he would surely be killed, as others had been. So they spoke to him, and urged him not to attempt such a perilous adventure. But their words only increased his desire to succeed in the match so as to earn the praise of such lovely women.

Orlando, like Rosalind’s father, was deprived of his inheritance by his brother, and he was so dejected by his brother’s unkindness that, until he met Rosalind, he cared little if he lived or died. Now, though, the sight of Rosalind gave him the power and bravery he needed to perform magnificently, and he hurled Charles with such force that he had to be helped off the mat. Duke Frederick admired his bravery and inquired about his name.

The young guy introduced himself as Orlando, the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys.

Sir Rowland de Boys, while he was alive, had been a close friend to the exiled Duke, so when Frederick learned whose son Orlando was, he was disappointed and refused to befriend him. Rosalind was thrilled to find out that this handsome young stranger was the son of an old friend of her father’s. As they left, Rosalind looked back many times to give the brave young man another compliment.

“Gentleman,” she remarked as she hung a necklace over his neck, “wear this for me.” I wish I could offer more, but my hand is empty. “

Rosalind said that she fell in love with the attractive wrestler at first sight while she and Celia were alone and discussing him.

Celia answered, “Come, come; struggle with your feelings.”

“Oh,” said Rosalind, “they cast a greater wrestler than me.” “There comes the Duke!” “With his eyes filled with rage,” Celia said.

“You must immediately leave the court,” he told Rosalind. Why? she inquired.

“It makes no difference why,” said the Duke; “you are exiled.” “If you are discovered within twenty miles of my court within ten days, you will die.”

Therefore, Rosalind went out to find her father, the exiled Duke, in the Arden Forest. Celia loved her too much to allow her to go alone, and since it was a very perilous voyage, Rosalind, being the taller of the two, disguised herself as a young countryman and her cousin as a country girl, announcing that she would be known as Ganymede and Celia as Aliena. When they finally reached the Forest of Arden, they were quite exhausted, and as they sat on the grass, Ganymede requested a passing countryman bring them food. He did so and informed them that the sheep and home of a shepherd were to be auctioned. They purchased them and lived in the wilderness as shepherds and shepherdesses.

In the meantime, when Oliver attempted to kill his brother Orlando, Orlando walked into the forest, where he found the legitimate duke and was graciously welcomed and invited to reside with him. Now, Orlando could only think about Rosalind, so he walked about the woodland, carving her name onto trees and composing love sonnets that he hung from bushes, where Rosalind and Celia discovered them. One day, Orlando saw them, but he didn’t recognize Rosalind in her boy’s clothes. Instead, he liked the handsome shepherd boy because he thought he looked like the woman he loved.

“There is a stupid lover who stalks these woods and affixes sonnets to the trees,” remarked Rosalind. “If I could locate him, I would quickly correct his foolishness.”

Orlando admitted that he was the stupid lover, and Rosalind said, “If you would come to visit me every day, I will pretend to be Rosalind, assume her part, and act wayward and disagreeable, as is the nature of women, until I make you ashamed of your foolishness in loving her.”

So he went to her home every day and delighted in telling her all the lovely things he would have said to Rosalind; and she had the exquisite and hidden pleasure of knowing that all his romantic words reached the correct ears. Thus, several days went by without incident.

One morning, while Orlando was on his way to meet Ganymede, he observed a guy sleeping on the ground and a lioness lurking nearby, waiting for the man to wake up, since legend has it that lions would not attack anything that was dead or sleeping. Orlando then glanced at the guy and realized that it was his evil brother Oliver who had attempted to kill him. He battled and killed the lioness in order to save his brother’s life.

While Orlando fought the lioness, Oliver awoke to discover his brother, whom he had treated so poorly, risking his own life to save him from a ferocious animal. This caused him to repent of his evil, and he asked Orlando’s forgiveness; thereafter, they were close brothers. Because the lioness had severely injured Orlando’s arm, he was unable to continue to the shepherd, so he sent his brother to beg Ganymede to come to him.

Oliver went and told Ganymede and Aliena the whole tale, and Aliena was so impressed by his masculine style of admitting his flaws that she fell in love with him immediately. Ganymede collapsed when she learned Orlando was in danger, and when she regained consciousness, she exclaimed, “I should have been a lady by rights.”

Oliver returned to his brother and told him everything, adding, “I love Aliena so much that I would give you my lands, marry her, and become a shepherd.”

“Let your wedding take place tomorrow,” Orlando replied, “and I’ll invite the Duke and his friends.”

When Orlando informed Ganymede that his brother was to be married the next day, he added, “Oh, how cruel it is to see happiness through the eyes of another man.”

Then Rosalind replied, still wearing Ganymede’s clothes, and spoke with his voice, “If you love Rosalind so deeply, you will marry Rosalind when your brother marries Aliena.”

The next day, the Duke and his followers, Orlando, Oliver, and Aliena, were all present for the wedding.

Then Ganymede entered and asked the Duke, “If I bring in Rosalind, will you give her to Orlando?” “That I would do if I had all the kingdoms to bestow on her,” the Duke replied.

She asked Orlando, “And you say you’ll have her when I bring her?” “This is what I would do if I were ruler of all countries,” he said.

Then Rosalind and Celia left, and Rosalind dressed as a beautiful lady and returned after some time.

She went to her father and said, “I offer myself to you because I am yours.” He said, “If the truth be known, you are my daughter.”

Then she said to Orlando, “I surrender myself to you because I am yours.” “If there is truth in sight, you are my Rosalind,” he replied.

She said to the Duke, “I will have no father if you are not he,” and to Orlando, “I will have no spouse if you are not he.”

So Orlando and Rosalind were married, as were Oliver and Celia, and they returned to the kingdom with the Duke, where they lived happily ever after. Because a saintly hermit had shown Frederick the wickedness of his deeds, he returned the dukedom to his brother and entered a monastery to seek forgiveness.

The wedding in the forest’s mossy meadow was a joyous occasion. A shepherd and shepherdess who had been Rosalind’s companions while she was disguised as a shepherd were married on the same day, with such magnificent feasting and merriment that could take place nowhere else except in the lovely green forest.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s