Celia exiles herself as well. Disguised, they head for the Forest of Arden along with the clown Touchstone. Orlando learns his brother intends to kill him and likewise flees to Arden.
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Rosalind and Celia find the poetry and Rosalind decides to make the most of her disguise as the boy Ganymede —she offers to cure Orlando of his lovesickness by pretending to be Rosalind. Meanwhile, Touchstone falls in love with a local shepherdess Audrey. Oliver arrives, seeking Orlando, and is nearly killed by wild animals. Instead, he is rescued by his brother.
When approached to direct As You Like It, my heart definitely swelled a size or two. I have such fondness for the quirky pastiche of characters that run amok in this play.
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Each inhabitant is a delightful little study, full of wise saws or witty bon mots— often both! There is an element of the outrageous about them, yet somehow they stay grounded in humanity—exhibiting humor and pathos, my favorite combination. O, Rosalind! The plight of Rosalind and Orlando, both victims of incredible loss, resonates: they find their true voices, their true selves when tested.
And as a result, they are able to forgive and subsequently find love. And certainly the folks in this play, Rosalind in particular, are poster children of this sentiment. Shakespeare included a lot of songs in Arden. And watching a group of gifted musicians jam and improvise on a particular theme is magical!
As You Like It | Folger Shakespeare Library
A song can really get to the heart of what one is feeling, and Arden is certainly a place where one can sing freely. Shakespeare rarely wrote an original plot. He excelled at adapting and upgrading existing stories with added characters, parallel subplots and more complex psychology. With As You Like It, Shakespeare is adopting and tweaking the English pastoral, a popular form of escapist literature in vogue in the s.
The play begins in France but quickly shifts as the action moves to the Forest of Arden. The true location for this is believed to be based on the Ardennes, a heavily forested region that spans Belgium, Germany, and France. Frederick has allowed Rosalind to remain at court only because of her friendship with his one daughter, Celia. Rosalind's admirer Orlando, has fallen in love with her at first sight.
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He too has been a victim of persecution, having been persecuted and driven out of his home by his older brother Oliver. When Frederick becomes upset with Rosalind and bans her from the court, his daughter Celia decides to escape with Rosalind. They create disguises, with Rosalind disguised as a young man named Ganymede, and Celia pretending to be a poor woman named Aliena. When the two women arrive in the forest they encounter the exiled Duke, who lives amongst some of his supporters. The most troubled and honest of these is Jacque, described as melancholy, and introduced in tears as he sobs over the pain that his own slaughter of a deer has caused him.
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