What is the storyline of 'As You Like It by William Shakespeare'?

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sensei918 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As You Like It is one of Shakespeare's cross-dressing comedies. The story revolves around 2 brothers, 1 good and 1 bad, with a sub-plot concerning two other brothers. The bad brother has taken over his good brother's kingdom and banished him to the forest of Arden, along with all his entourage and court members with the exception of his daughter Rosalind, who is dear friends with the bad duke's daughter. 

The evil duke finally decides that he must get rid of Rosalind as well, so she disguises herself as a boy, Ganymede; her friend disguises herself as a shepherdess, and, together with the Fool Touchstone, they flee into the forest themselves.

Meanwhile, the other set of brothers is engaged in the same sort of chicanery. The bad brother attempts to kill Orlando, the good brother, and he escapes to the forest where he meets Rosalind/Ganymede, who actually is already in love with Orlando because she saw him win a wrestling competition at court before she was exiled. He is also in love with her. She courts him to teach him how to court Rosalind. It's never clear whether he actually has her disguise figured out or not.

In the meantime, the bad duke repents, the good duke is re-instated, and the play, as good comedies do, ends with marriages. 

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As You Like It

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