Act II, Scenes 2 and 3

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 396

In Scene 2, set at Duke Frederick's palace, Duke Frederick reveals his anger when he learns that Rosalind, Celia, and Touchstone are missing. A courtier tells him that Orlando is believed to be in their company. Duke Frederick orders Orlando to be summoned immediately, or for Oliver to be brought should Orlando be missing. If Orlando is gone, the Duke will make Oliver find his brother.

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Scene 3 takes place at Oliver's house. Adam, in a state of agitation, warns Orlando that he is in mortal danger if he remains at home. Oliver has learned of Orlando's victory in the wrestling match, and he plans to burn Orlando's lodgings that very night while Orlando is sleeping. If that fails, Oliver will resort to other treacherous means to kill his brother. Orlando is uncertain as to where he might go, but Adam tells him that any place is better than remaining at home. Orlando protests that with no money of his own, his only options would be to "beg for food" or to make "a thievish living on the common road." Adam tells Orlando that he has saved five hundred crowns during his years of service to Orlando's late father, which he had set aside for his old age. He offers Orlando the money and begs to accompany him wherever he goes. Orlando, moved by Adam's loyalty, invites him to share his journey into exile.

These brief scenes contrast the villainy of Duke Frederick and Oliver with the noble natures of Adam and Orlando. Adam is in many ways a model of virtue. From the age of seventeen "till now almost fourscore" he has served Sir Rowland de Boys and his household faithfully. He has managed to save five hundred crowns by leading an exemplary life. In his youth he avoided "hot and rebellious liquors" and other vices. Orlando comments admiringly that Adam is "not for the fashion of these times" allusion to the corruption of the court. Yet we can see that Orlando, too, is virtuous. The idea of earning his living as a beggar or a thief is so repugnant to him that he is willing to risk remaining at home. Here again, we see the theme of fortune when Adam tells Orlando at the end of Scene 3, "Yet fortune cannot recompense me better/Than to die well and not my master's debtor."

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Act II, Scene 1


Act II, Scene 4

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