How does wealth influence relationships, especially the relationships between Oliver and Orlando and Duke Senior and Duke Frederick, as seen in Shakespeare's As You Like It?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Wealth certainly does significantly influence relationships in As You Like It, especially by inciting jealousy. We certainly see the influences reflected in the relationship of Orlando and Oliver as well as in Frederick and Duke Senior's relationship.

When we first meet Orlando in the opening scene, we learn that his elder brother Oliver has usurped Orlando of his rights to the inheritance their late father left Orlando in his will. Both the younger brothers, Orlando and Jaques, were left one thousand crowns, plus their father made Oliver promise to see to their educations as gentleman. Oliver has seen to Jaques' fortune and education, their middle brother, but neither to Orlando's fortune nor education, the youngest of the Sir de Boys's sons. We learn that it is out of jealousy for Orlando's qualities that Oliver has denied Orlando his rights. What's more, denying Orlando's rights has driven a wedge between them. As Orlando states, he feels that Oliver is taking better care of the estate animals than he is taking care of Orlando, which leads Orlando to confront Oliver, as we see in the lines he addresses to Oliver:

Shall I keep your hogs and eat husks with them?
What prodigal portion have I spent, that I should
come to such penury [severe poverty]. (I.i.37-39)

As a result of confronting Oliver, Oliver next tries to kill Orlando, driving an even deeper wedge between their relationship, as well as driving Orlando into exile.

Similarly, it is out of jealousy of wealth and power that Frederick usurps his older brother Duke Senior, taking over the dukedom and driving Duke Senior into exile into the Forest of Arden. We don't learn much about their relationship prior to Duke Senior's exile, but we do hear Duke Senior speak of the insult he felt by being flattered, meaning gratified through lies, at court and how relieved he is that in the forest he is no longer subjected to such flattery. We can assume that it was his own brother who was one his flatterers and then that brother turned on him, showing us that the relationship between Duke Frederick and Duke Senior certainly was and is strained.

palvinder | Student

wealth is d biggest reason btwn d rltnshps of ppl said above as it was a rule dt d eldest brother will lead d throne n thus d sole enjoyer of d wealth dts uu duke fredrick cheated duke senior n threw him out of d kingdom same wd oliver n orlando oliver was afraid dt bng hs legal brother orlando myt ask 4 a part of hs wealth n thus in order 2 save ds he planned d fyt 2 kill him


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As You Like It

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