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Ada Rehan as Rosalind, Lyceum Theatre, 1890

As You Like It

All brothers hate each other for some reason. Rosalind dresses up as a boy and convinces her crush to hit on her while she's a boy. Everyone is married by a Greek god.

As You Like It Summary

Rosalind and her cousin escape into the forest and find Orlando, Rosalind's love. Disguised as a boy shepherd, Rosalind has Orlando woo her under the guise of "curing" him of his love for Rosalind. Rosalind reveals she is a girl and marries Orlando during a group wedding at the end of the play.  


More detail: 2.5 minute read

Act I

Orlando, the youngest son of the recently-deceased Sir Roland de Boys, is treated harshly by his eldest brother, Oliver. Bitter and angry, Orlando challenges the court wrestler, Charles, to a fight. When Oliver learns of the fight, Oliver tells Charles to injure Orlando if possible.

Duke Frederick has recently deposed his brother, Duke Senior, as head of the court. But he allowed Senior's daughter, Rosalind, to remain, and she and Celia, the new Duke's daughter, watch the wrestling competition. During the match, Rosalind falls in love with Orlando, who beats Charles. Rosalind gives Orlando a chain to wear; in turn, he is overcome with love.  

Act II

Shortly after, Orlando is warned of his brother's plot against him and seeks refuge in the Forest of Arden. At the same time, and seemingly without cause, Duke Frederick banishes Rosalind. She decides to seek shelter in the Forest of Arden with Celia. They both disguise themselves: Rosalind as the young man Ganymede and Celia as his shepherdess sister Aliena. Touchstone, the court fool, also goes with them. 

As You Like It Playbill at the Taunton 1819
As You Like It Playbill at the Taunton 1819

Act III

In the Forest of Arden, the weary cousins happen upon Silvius, a lovesick shepherd. Silvius was in the act of declaring his feelings for Phoebe, a scornful shepherdess. Ganymede buys the lease to the property of an old shepherd who needs someone to manage his estate. Ganymede and Aliena set up home in the forest. Not far away, and unaware of the newcomers, Duke Senior is living a simple outdoor life with his fellow exiled courtiers and huntsmen. Their merriment is interrupted by the arrival of Orlando, who seeks nourishment for himself and his servant. The two men are welcomed by the outlaw courtiers.

Ganymede and Aliena find verses addressed to Rosalind hung on the forest branches by Orlando. Ganymede finds Orlando and proposes to cure Orlando of his love. To do this, Orlando will woo Ganymede as if he were Rosalind (even though "he" really is . . . Rosalind). Orlando consents and visits Ganymede/Rosalind every day for his lessons. In the meantime, the shepherdess Phoebe has fallen for Ganymede while the shepherd Silvius still pursues her.  Furthermore, Touchstone, the court fool, has dazzled a country girl, Audrey, with his courtly manners. Audrey deserts her young suitor, William, for him.

Royal Shakespeare Company, 1961
Royal Shakespeare Company, 1961

All the world's a stage.

— As You Like It, Act 2 Scene 7
As You Like It in Urdu, 1886
As You Like It in Urdu, 1886

Act IV

When Duke Frederick hears Orlando disappeared at the same time as Rosalind and Celia, he orders Oliver to the forest to seek his brother. In the forest, Orlando saves Oliver's life, injuring his arm in the process. Oliver runs into Ganymede and Aliena in the forest and relates this news. Rosalind (disguised as Ganymede) is overcome with her feelings for Orlando. Celia (disguised as Aliena) and Oliver quickly fall in love with one another. Rosalind decides that it is time to end her game with Orlando and devises a plan in which everyone will get married. 

Act V

As Ganymede, Rosalind promises Phoebe that they will marry, Celia will marry Oliver, Touchstone will marry Audrey, and Orlando will marry Rosalind. She makes Phoebe promise that if they, for some reason, don't get married, Phoebe will marry Silvius instead. 

On the day of the wedding, and with the help of the god Hymen, Rosalind reappears in her female clothes. Duke Senior gives her away to Orlando, while Phoebe accepts Silvius. Orlando's other older brother returns from college with the news that Celia's father, Duke Ferdinand, has left court to become a hermit. Thus, everyone is happy (except maybe Phoebe, who marries someone she doesn't love and Silvius, who marries someone who doesn't love him). The play ends with a joyful dance to celebrate the four marriages.

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