Act 5 and Epilogue Summary

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Scene 1

Touchstone promises to marry Audrey and chases away a rival for her affections, a young countryman called William. 

Scene 2

Oliver tells Orlando that he has fallen in love with Celia, whom he believes to be a shepherdess named Aliena, and gives up his claim to their father’s estate in favor of his brother. As he departs, Rosalind enters, still dressed as Ganymede. 

Orlando confesses that he is unhappy, despite his reconciliation with his brother, because he is no closer to marrying Rosalind. Rosalind-as-Ganymede replies that she has magic powers and will help him to marry Rosalind tomorrow, at the same time as Oliver marries Celia. When they are joined by Silvius and Phebe, Rosalind tries to persuade Phebe to marry Silvius. However, she promises that, if she ever marries a woman, it will be Phebe. 

Scene 3

Touchstone and Audrey are also planning their wedding, and Duke Senior’s pages sing a song for them. Touchstone, however, is unimpressed and declares the song to be tuneless and absurd.

Scene 4

All have gathered in the forest. Orlando confesses to Duke Senior that he is doubtful about whether Ganymede can make good his promise that Orlando will be able to marry Rosalind. Duke Senior says that Ganymede reminds him of his daughter, Rosalind, and Orlando agrees that there is a resemblance. 

After the entrance of Touchstone and Audrey, they are joined by Hymen, the god of marriage, leading Rosalind and Celia, who have resumed their true identities. When they see Rosalind dressed as a woman, Duke Senior finally recognizes his daughter, and Orlando his beloved. Phebe also realizes that she has no chance of marrying Ganymede, and must accept Silvius. Hymen sings a marriage hymn for the four couples: Orlando and Rosalind, Oliver and Celia, Silvius and Phebe, and Touchstone and Audrey.

Jaques de Boys, the brother of Orlando and Oliver, enters and announces that Duke Frederick has experienced a religious conversion. He intends to retire to a monastery, returning the court and all his possessions to Duke Senior. The other Jaques says that he will enter the monastery with Duke Frederick while Duke Senior and the other lords return to court. 

Epilogue

The play ends with an epilogue, delivered by Rosalind. She remarks that, while a play does not require an epilogue, the epilogue may still improve it, and says that if she were a woman (since the part of Rosalind would have been played by a boy), she would kiss all the men in the audience whom she found attractive.

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Act 4 Summary