Give a character critique of the character of Orlando in As You Like It.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team