As You Like It

Type: 
Comedy
First Performed: 
1599-1600
First Printed: 
1623
"

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

"

The Duke has taken up residence in the Forest of Arden with a band of loyal followers after his younger brother, Frederick, stole his title and throne. His daughter, Rosalind, and her best friend Celia, remained behind at the Court.

Young Orlando and his estranged brother, Oliver, enter the Court. A wrestling match is arranged by Duke Frederick between Orlando and the much-stronger Charles, who is encouraged by Oliver to do Orlando grave harm. Surprisingly, Orlando wins the match, and in doing so, attracts the romantic attention of Rosalind. This angers Oliver even more and Orlando leaves the Court, eventually to find his own way to the Forest of Arden.

Frustrated, Duke Frederick banishes Rosalind to her father's fate. He is surprised when Celia, who is his daughter, declares that she will accompany Rosalind rather than remain behind with her father. Together, and in disguise, they leave the Court accompanied by the clown Touchstone.

Orlando eventually joins the company of the Duke (Senior)'s men in the Forest of Arden, all the while pining for Rosalind. Rosalind, disguised as the male Ganymede, learns of Orlando's love and seeks him out in the Forest to gain a better sense of his feelings. As Ganymede, “he” comforts Orlando by allowing him to pour out his feelings for Rosalind to “him.” Rosalind, as Ganymede, also attempts to make a match between Silvius and Phebe, but that goes awry when Phebe falls in love with Ganymede. Meanwhile, the clown Touchstone has fallen in love with a country girl named Audrey, and the Forest is filled with romantic entanglements.

When Oliver arrives in the Forest and his brother saves him from a lion attack, the two brothers reconcile. Celia falls in love with Oliver on sight, and Duke Senior promises to wed them the next day. Rosalind persuades Phebe to marry Silvius if she can't marry Ganymede, and she also tells Orlando that Rosalind will marry him the following day. On the wedding day, Rosalind reveals her true identity—shocking Phebe, who then marries Silvius. Touchstone marries Audrey, Celia weds Oliver, and Rosalind and Orlando are finally united. Amidst all this marital bliss, word comes that Duke Senior is restored to his rightful position on the throne and all is well in the Forest of Arden.