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The beginning of the play does seem to offer a pessimistic view of life, with Duke Frederick and Oliver both being immoral characters in positions of power, indulging in such vices as usurpation, cheating, lack of familial loyalty, and a general failure of kindness and benevolence. However, to counterbalance this, we have several morally good characters and a happy ending in which evil characters are reformed and true love triumphs. If anything, this play displays a triumph of love, friendship, and benevolence over the forces of evil.
Adam and Touchstone both show the virtues of loyal servants, and are well-treated by the young lovers and rewarded for their loyalty. Duke Frederick is converted to true religious belief by a hermit in the forest and returns the Dukedom to its rightful possessor, Duke Senior, who has shown himself a noble and generous character. Orlando wins the wrestling contest, despite the attempted cheating, and ends up happily in love and married. Rosalind, clever, brave, and resourceful, ends up married to the man she loves.
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