What is the importance of Act III, Scene 2 in As You Like It?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Act III, Scene 2 of As You Like It is very important because it is a pivotal scene that has thematic importance, action importance, and character importance. First, in 3.2 the thematic focus shifts from pure devoted women's love, as between sisters, as represented by Celia and Rosalind to romantic love as represented by Rosalind and Orlando. It also has thematic importance because Corin and Touchstone debate the virtues of court life and pastoral country life (Corin seems to win...).

The scene is important to the action of the play because it is in 3.2 that Shakespeare sets up the silly teasing joke that Rosalind/Ganymede plays on poor lovesick Orlando that comprises the major action of the rest of the play and sets up to the marriages in the resolution. The scene has character importance because important traits, thoughts and feelings are revealed about the characters of Orlando and Rosalind. In addition:
1.  Orlando displays his poetry.
2.  Rosalind learns of Orlando's presence in Arden forest.
3.  Orlando reveals the depths of his love for Rosalind.
4.  Rosalind learns of Orlando's love by eavesdropping.

hannahhunt09 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The second scene of the third act includes vital plot points in William Shakespeare's play As You Like It. The importance of this scene is that it contains much of the most necessary rising action, leading to the ultimate climax of the play. As You Like It centers on themes of mistaken identity and love. This scene emphasizes both of these themes. First, Touchstone is mistaken in Rosalind's identity. The comedic structure of the play is emphasized as Touchstone creates parodies of Orlando's love poems, not knowing that he is insulting the subject of these poems directly and in person.

Later, Rosalind and Orlando meet, and both love one another, but Orlando is meant to believe that Rosalind is a man named Ganymede at this moment. Rosalind, under this pretense, ensures that Orlando's feelings for her are real and will continue. The scene, as a whole, is intended to further increase the dramatic tension, as well as to highlight and define the play's major themes.

nusratfarah | Student

In Shakespeare's famous pastoral romantic comedy As You Like It, the second scene of the third act is a noteworthy one.

The major point is that, from this scene the process begins; the process of transforming Orlando into a real man, a true lover from a lovesick young guy. The Forest of Arden seems to metamorphoses other characters like Oliver or Duke Francis who enter the forest supernaturally, but in case of Orlando, it is Ganymede’s clever tests and trials which help the gradual development of Orlando’s personality. And this procedure starts from this particular scene, when Orlando is asked by Ganymede: “come everyday to... woo me”. Orlando, thus, is not only going to be healed, his character is also going to be flourished. This is the most notable significance of the scene.

Another important action which takes place is the argument between Touchstone and Corin regarding the comparison between the courtly life and country life. Both Touchstone and Corin give their reasons, and both are correct from their own points of view. But, it is interesting to find out that while arguing against the pastoral life, Touchstone unwillingly depicts the advantages of the country life, and vice versa. Here, obvious contrasting images of the country and the courtly life are portrayed through the conversation.

Megan Clauhs | Student

3.2 is important because it lays the premise for the love story and the route that it takes. It is also important because it establishes why Rosalind and Orlando are meant to be in love.

At the top of the scene, we see Corin and Touchstone discussing country versus court--as Shakespeare wrote this play for city-dwellers who looked disdainfully at the country, they would have found this amusing. Touchstone establishes himself as the wittiest person in the conversation. We next see Rosalind and Celia, who both read Orlando's bad poetry; Celia surpasses Touchstone's wit with her own. Celia and Rosalind discuss Orlando and his poetry; Celia keeps up her sharp wit, but Rosalind has no stomach for it. Their conversation is interrupted by Orlando and Jacques, who engage in their own battle of wits. Jacques admits that Orlando is wittier than he, but ultimately, Jacques is the wittiest. Rosalind then approaches Orlando, and here we see the two characters who have no interest in verbal sparring communicating with one another. Rosalind, pretending to be a boy, convinces Orlando to woo her as practice for wooing his true love.

In this way, Shakespeare has established that Rosalind and Orlando are worthy of one another while also spurring forward the action of the play.

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As You Like It

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