As You Like It by William Shakespeare


As You Like It by William Shakespeare

As You Like It is a pastoral comedy written by William Shakespeare. The story was written in 1599 and first published in the First Folio, in 1623. The story of As You Like It revolves around the protagonist Rosalind and her cousin, Celia. Rosalind suffers flees persecution under her uncle’s court with Celia to find safety and love.

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Shakespeare is a great dramatist and playwright. He is regarded as the English national poet. His collections include tragedies, histories, romance and tragicomedies. Few notable works of Shakespeare are Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado about Nothing, and Twelfth Night.

Summary :

After the death of Sir Rowland de Bois, the custom of primogeniture passed on his possession to his eldest son, Oliver. Rowland has asked Oliver to take care of his younger brother, Orlando, but he refuses to do so, denying Orlando of education, training, and property. Meanwhile, there has been a rumor about Orlando challenging a wrestler named Charles for a fight. Fearing to be censured for beating a nobleman, Charles meets Oliver to discuss the issue; upon which Oliver instructs him to beat Orlando, as he is a dishonorable sportsman.

In a parallel subplot, Duke Frederick succeeds Duke Senior, who has now fled to the Forest of Ardenne. However, his daughter, Rosalind remains with Frederick as she holds a special bonding with Frederick’s daughter, Celia. On the day of fight between Orlando and Charles, Orlando defeats the court wrestler. On returning home, Orlando discovers the plot of his brother and decides to flee to the Forest of Ardenne. Meanwhile, Rosalind is also banished by her uncle and flees into the Ardenne in a disguise of a young man named Ganymede. Celia accompanies her as a shepherdess named Aliena.

Duke Frederick becomes furious on knowing Celia’s disappearance with Rosalind and that of Orlando. As a result, he orders Oliver to find his brother and his daughter or else confiscate his lands and property. He also decides to kill his brother Senior, who lives in the Forest of Ardenne with a band of loyal followers. He is content with the life among the trees. In the forest, Orlando starves for food and lands at the duke’s camp and demands them. Later, Duke Senior learns that Orlando is the son of his former friend. Meanwhile, Rosalind and Celia meet a young shepherd, Silvius in the forest. They live in a cottage where they meet Orlando. Not knowing their disguise, he confides in Rosalind about his love for her. She promises to cure Orlando’s lovesickness by pretend Ganymede to be Rosalind and woo her every day.

Silvius is lovesick for Phoebe, who rejects him. Rosalind intervenes as the disguised Ganymede, but ends up attracting Phoebe. The charade proceeds until Silvius proposes to marry Ganymede to which Rosalind promises he will wed Phoebe if she ever marries a woman. Meanwhile Orlando becomes tired of wooing a man. Rosalind decides to end the drama next day on the wedding of Phoebe and Ganymede.

On the day of wedding, everyone including Phoebe and Silvius; Celia and Oliver; and Orlando assembles before Duke Senior. Rosalind gets a promise from Phoebe saying if she refuses to marry Ganymede, then she should marry Silvius. She also gets a promise from the Duke, asking him for his support for his daughter’s marriage with Orlando. Rosalind leaves with Celia, and return back as themselves to everyone’s surprise. The god of marriage, Hymen, accompanies them.

The story ends when Hymen officiate the marriage of Rosalind and Orlando, Phoebe and Silvius, Celia and Oliver, and Audrey and Touchstone. The celebrations receive even more good news when Duke Frederick arrives to inform about his monastic life. Duke Senior returns to his throne again.

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