what is the relationship between oliver and orlandoessay on characters of oliver and orlando

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renoa | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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William Shakespeare's As You Like It is a very witty comedy. Here, the characters of Orlando and Oliver are clearly distinguishable from each other.


Oliver is Orlando's elder brother. Both are the sons of late Sir Rowland de Bois. In the very beginning, we find out, in accordance with the rule of primogeniture in England, which instructs that all the property would be inherited by the eldest of the family, Orlando gets the possession of the belongings that his father leaves. Though, he was instructed to take proper care of Orlando, he, out of jealousy and loath, makes Orlando totally deprived. In fact, when the royal wrestler Charles is supposed to fight Orlando, Oliver leaps with joy thinking of the probable death of his brother. But, in Orlando, we find no such cruel feeling or motive. He is not even confident enough to stand on his own feet. He just flees away in fear of his brother.


Later in the play, when Oliver is attacked by a lioness in the forest of Arden, it is Orlando who rescues him. Orlando could have shown abhorrence or reacted vindictively by not saving Oliver, but he does not do so. Unlike Oliver, he proves to be a sensible brother and a good-natured human. And, at this point, his valour is also expressed.


Another notable point is that, Orlando's character develops gradually with the help of Ganymede, whereas Oliver's character faces a sudden change in the forest of Arden which is very miraculous.


Finally , the difference between the two brothers has clearly been depicted in the play, where Shakespeare's portrayal of Orlando is almost a mirror image of Oliver.

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jaserah | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

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Oliver and Orlando are the two sons of Sir Rowland de boys,Oliver bein the eldest and Orlando,the youngest.The two brothers share a feeling if hatred for each other rather than brotherly love.Sir Rowland de Boys hands over orlando's charge to oliver on his death and in this way,Orllando inherits a thousand crowns from his father.However,oliver takes no ineterest in the good upbringing of his brother Orlando.He treats him as a rustic.his horses are bred better than hi own brother.Orlando is not sent to school to gain education.This shows an unpleasant bonding between the two brothers.In other words,they share a tough brotherly relationship that is filled with hatred.