What is a character sketch of Orlando in As You Like It?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Orlando is the ideal romantic hero for a play like As You Like It. He makes an excellent match for the heroine Rosalind, because they are both intelligent and strong individuals. Orlando has to flee to the Forest of Arden because his brother Oliver wants to have him killed. Orlando is in danger because he courageously assaults and berates Oliver. Orlando further proves his bravery by assaulting Duke Senior and some of his followers in the Forest of Arden and demanding food for himself and his loyal servant Adam. Rosalind falls in love with Orlando virtiually at first sight because he seems to be such an ideal specimen of young manhood in every respect. He is also a romantic man. He writes love poems and hangs them on trees hoping Rosalind will see them. To be so strong and athletic and so tender at the same time seems a rare combination, and it is no wonder that Rosalind falls for him.

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sourya | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Honors

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Orlando is a strong young man who is greatly gifted in the physical art of wrestling and who is full of energy and enthusiasm. Yet his education in academic subjects, the arts and manners has been neglected in all regards. This is demonstrated when he loses his temper in Act I, Scene I and grabs the villainous Oliver in a wrestling hold and later when he storms in on Duke Senior in Arden forest demanding food.

Orlando is also a romantic young man who falls in love at first sight and writes attempts at poetry that he heralds all over Arden forest. His versifications are very poorly done but, remember, he had no formal education of any kind because of Oliver's villainy.

It is this same eruption of pent up birthright that leads Orland to agree to be schooled in the formal art of courtship by Ganymede/Rosalind (never mind he doesn't recognize Rosalind beneath Ganymede's clothes; he'd only seen her once, and there were restrictions on gender clothing, so no one would ever suspect Rosalind of wearing a men's clothing disguise) that led to the eruption of bad poetry littering Arden forest.

Orlando has great moral and ethical integrity even though he hadn't been taught the philosophies espousing human dignity as others had. His behavior toward his old servant Adam bespeaks the genuine sincere goodness of his heart.

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