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The following is one of the most well-known quotes from this play:
"All the world's a stage/and all the men and women merely players"
This quote sums up the conflicts of the characters, who are "playing" parts to each other, just trying to fill the roles that have been given to them.
The main problem encountered by Orlando at the beginning of the play is his rejection by his brother Oliver and, as the play continues, Oliver's plot to take Orlando's life. This is what sends him fleeing into the forest to take refuge there. Rosalind faces a similar challenge. Her father has been usurped by his brother and has fled into the forest. At first Rosalind was allowed to stay at court, then she was also banished and forced to flee into the forest.
Orlando's situation is complicated by the fact that he has fallen in love with Rosalind and cannot approach her because of his situation. Furthermore, Duke Frederick was an enemy of Orlando's father and would never approve the match. When Frederick's daughter disappears with Rosalind, Frederick is sure that Orlando is involved and gets Oliver involved with the search. As the plot thickens, Oliver falls in love with Celia, Fredericks daughter.
These situations lead to the disguises and games of love that go on in the forest until the situations are resolved and the loving couples in the play all get together as they want.
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