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What is the meaning of 'courtesy of nations' in As You Like It'(Act 1,Scene1)?

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thekratos619 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 19, 2010 at 10:31 AM via web

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What is the meaning of 'courtesy of nations' in As You Like It'(Act 1,Scene1)?

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clarendon | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted June 21, 2010 at 2:42 AM (Answer #1)

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Orlando is speaking to his oldest brother Oliver.  He complains that Oliver is not treating him as an elder brother should, in particular that he is neglecting Orlando's education.  Orlando states that he has no real options because the "courtesy of nations"--that is the custom of the society in which they live which is a general custom of the time--gives the land, titles, and power to the eldest brother.  The technical name for this is primogeniture. 

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kartavya14 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 10, 2012 at 3:34 PM (Answer #2)

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the courtesy of nations means the custom prevailing among the civilzed nations of the world. it allows oliver the inheritance of the estate of his father because he is the eldest son

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