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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rosalind in the strongest character in As You Like It. As such, she needs a strong male character to serve as her lover, and Orlando seems to have been created mainly to serve this purpose. Shakespeare has made him exceptionally brave and strong. Orlando is able to beat a powerful professional wrestler in a match, and he shows his courage by attacking Duke Senior's entire company to obtain food for himself and his faithful retainer Adam in the Forest of Arden. Although he is strong and brave, Orlando also has an emotional, romantic side, making him almost irresistible to women, including Rosalind. He shows his romantic nature by writing love poems for Rosalind and attaching them to trees all over the forest, as well as by wooing Rosalind when she is disguised as Ganymede. There is no other character in the play who competes with Orlando in strength, good looks, masculinity, and passion. He is the ideal love match for Rosalind, and the audience is pleased when they marry at the end of the play.

barbierockzzz | Student
Orlando is the youngest son of the deceased Sir Rowland de Boys and a brother to Oliver. He resents the harsh treatment he receives at Oliver's hands and complains that Oliver neglects to educate him. Orlando feels that he is being ''kept'' like the livestock. He is fed and he grows physically but not intellectually or socially. Despite this neglect, Orlando's talents and his aristocratic nature reveal themselves. 

According to his brother, Oliver, Orlando is of noble character, unschooled yet somehow learned, full of noble purposes, and loved by people of all ranks as if he had enchanted them (I.i.141-144). Although this description comes from the one character who hates Orlando and wishes him harm, it is an apt and generous picture of the hero of As You Like It. Orlando has a brave and generous spirit, though he does not possess Rosalind's wit and insight. As his love tutorial shows, he relies on commonplace clichés in matters of love, declaring that without the fair Rosalind, he would die. He does have a decent wit, however, as he demonstrates when he argues with Jaques, suggesting that Jaques should seek out a fool who wanders about the forest: "He is drowned in the brook. Look but in, and you shall see him," meaning that Jaques will see a fool in his own reflection (III.ii.262-263). But next to Rosalind, Orlando's imagination burns a bit less bright. This upstaging is no fault of Orlando's, given the fullness of Rosalind's character; Shakespeare clearly intends his audience to delight in the match. Time and again, Orlando performs tasks that reveal his nobility and demonstrate why he is so well-loved: he travels with the ancient Adam and makes a fool out of himself to secure the old man food; he risks his life to save the brother who has plotted against him; he cannot help but violate the many trees of Ardenne with testaments of his love for Rosalind. In the beginning of the play, he laments that his brother has denied him the schooling deserved by a gentleman, but by the end, he has proven himself a gentleman without the formality of that education. 

The youngest son of the dead Rowland De Boys, Orlando is in the beginning of the play complaining because his brother is not giving him a fair share of their father's money. He is portrayed as exceptionally strong in both body and in his devotion to love. It is these qualities that make Rosalind fall for him as well.

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