What is the relationship between Oliver and Orlando in the beginning and end of the play As You Like It?  

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of As You Like It Oliver and Orlando hate each other. Orlando is resentful because Oliver, his older brother, refuses to help him improve his education but treats him like a peasant. He says:

My father charged you in his will to give me good education: you have trained me like a peasant, obscuring and hiding from me all gentlemanlike qualities.

Orlando actually encourages the wrestler Charles to kill Orlando in their upcoming bout, but Orlando wins and then is forced to flee because he learns that Oliver has further plans to kill him. Duke Frederick orders Oliver to pursue Orlando because he believes Rosalind and Celia have run off with him and he blames this on Oliver. The Duke's reason for blaming Oliver is that he suspects him of plotting to kill his youngest brother and forcing him to flee, thereby providing Rosalind and Celia with the protection to flee with him. In other words, the Duke believes that his daughter Celia is to be found with Rosalind and that Rosalind is to be found with Orlando because they are in love with each other.

At the end of the play the brothers are reunited and reconciled in the Forest of Arden, where Orlando saves Oliver from being killed by a lioness. Oliver has become a changed man. He promises Orlando that he will give him his estate and all its revenues (V.2) because he wants to marry Celia and live the life of a shepherd in the forest.

renoa | Student


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.

sonamgoyal | Student

according to me orlando's and oliver's relationship at the begining was based on jealousy and loath. oliver was always jealous of orlando because of orlando's gentleman like qualities in the second scene of the play only it is clearly reavled that oliver is jealous of orlando's inheritted qualities and also because people used to like orlando more than oliver and oliver was misprised in front of him... and he even tries to kill him by hiring charles the wrestler to kil him and as adam tells orlando that he overhears him that he was planning to set fire in orlandos room.....however his views and behaviour  was changed afterwards when orlando saved oliver from lioness...

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As You Like It

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