What is the summary of Shakespeare's As You Like It, Act I, scene i?
The summary of Act I scene i of As You Like It isn't as captivating as the real thing, but the scene is so loaded that even a brief summary is captivating--and that, of course, is what Shakespeare was trying for: captivation of the audience. First, Orlando is seen lamenting his lot in life to his faithful servant Adam who has served his family long and well. Orlando is the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys and despised by his eldest brother, Oliver. Yet, even Oliver knows "not why" he hates Orlando:
for my soul, yet I know not why,
hates nothing more than he. Yet he's gentle, ...
... full of noble device, of
all sorts enchantingly beloved
Oliver then enters and Orlando lays his case for neglect before his eldest brother. Orlando says that even though bidden by their dying father to care for, educate, and in general lead Orlando into the life of a gentleman, Oliver has neglected him, fed him poorly, taught him nothing, and in every way confined him to mean and low circumstances so that even the horses are better treated.
After a bit of a brawl between them, caused because Orlando asked for his monetary inheritance so that he, with Adam, might seek his fortune on his own merit, Charles enters. Duke Frederick's champion wrestler, Charles is wrestling in an open challenge against any who come up against him. He advises Oliver that Orlando has enlisted in the challenge and that it will be Charles's duty to injure him to preserve his honor. And what do you think Oliver says?
Oliver says, go right ahead. He then says that Orlando is of such a disposition that, if Charles wins the match without seriously impairing Orlando's capacity, Orlando will come after Charles and not rest until Orlando has killed him. [Gasp!]
he will practise
against thee by poison, entrap thee by some
treacherous device and never leave thee till he
hath ta'en thy life ...
... and almost with tears I speak
The scene ends with Charles shocked by Oliver's description and determined to overpower that [maligned] scoundrel Orlando! Oliver has the last word when he says: "I hope I shall see / an end of him; for my soul, ... / hates nothing more than he."
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