As You Like It Act I, Scenes 2 and 3
by William Shakespeare

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Act I, Scenes 2 and 3

New Characters
Rosalind: daughter of the exiled Duke Senior

Celia: daughter of Duke Frederick and Rosalind's loyal friend

Touchstone: Duke Frederick's court jester

Le Beau: a foppish courtier

Duke Frederick: usurper of his brother's dukedom; Celia's father and Rosalind's uncle

The next day, Rosalind, daughter of the banished Duke Senior, and Celia, Duke Frederick's daughter, are encountered at Duke Frederick's palace. Celia urges her cousin to "be merry," but Rosalind is still upset by her father's banishment. Celia attempts to cheer her up by pledging her friendship and affection. Rosalind agrees to be joyful for her sake, and to "devise sports." She asks Celia what she would think of falling in love, to which Celia replies that love is best treated as a "sport" rather than in earnest. The young women banter lightheartedly about the caprices of "fortune" and "nature." Touchstone, Duke Frederick's court jester, arrives on the scene. He engages in witty chatter and tells Celia that her father has summoned her. Le Beau, one of Duke Frederick's courtiers, enters and informs Rosalind and Celia that the wrestling matches are underway. Charles has defeated his first three challengers, doing bodily harm in the process.

Duke Frederick and his court, along with Orlando and Charles, arrive for the next match. Duke Frederick is worried for Orlando's safety and urges his daughter and niece to dissuade him from competing. Their attempts are met by Orlando's firm declaration that "If killed...I shall do my friends no wrong for I have none to lament me; the world no injury; for in it I have nothing." The match begins and Rosalind and Celia cheer for Orlando. Then, to the astonishment to the onlookers, Orlando throws his opponent. Duke Frederick orders the match to a halt. Orlando wants to continue, but Charles is vanquished and is carried off.

Duke Frederick inquires of the victor's name, but when he learns that Orlando is the son of the late Sir Rowland de Boys, an ally of the banished Duke, his manner becomes harsh. "I would thou hadst been son to some man else," he remarks. Although the world esteemed Sir Rowland as honorable, Frederick considered him an enemy. He exits with his court. Rosalind and Celia remain.

Orlando proclaims that he is proud to have been Sir Rowland's son and Rosalind comments that her father "lov'd Sir Rowland as his soul." She gives Orlando a chain from around her neck, but Orlando, who has fallen in love at first sight, is speechless and unable to thank her. Rosalind and Celia exit and Le Beau warns Orlando that the Duke is furious at his victory. He advises him to "leave this place" and also tells him that the Duke has recently "ta'en displeasure 'gainst his gentle niece" since the people "praise her for her virtues" and "pity her for her father's sake." Le Beau exits and Orlando, alone, notes that he must now go from facing "a tyrant Duke" to facing a "tyrant brother." Yet at the same time he has something to cheer his spirits: "heavenly Rosalind."

In Scene 3, also set at Duke Frederick's palace, Rosalind confesses to Celia that she has fallen in love with Orlando. Their conversation grinds to a halt, however, when Duke Frederick enters "with his eyes full of anger" and banishes Rosalind from the court. When Rosalind asks for an explanation she is told, "Thou art thy father's daughter, there's enough." Celia pleads with her father for Rosalind to remain, but the Duke refuses. Celia tells him that if Rosalind is banished she will go as well. Duke Frederick calls her a fool and exits.

Celia suggests that they join Rosalind's father in the Forest of Arden. Rosalind protests that the journey will be dangerous for young women: "Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold." Celia proposes that they travel in disguise and resolves to dress in peasant attire and call herself Aliena. Rosalind, the taller of the pair, decides to dress as a young man and call herself Ganymede. They make plans to lure Touchstone along for the journey...

(The entire section is 1,543 words.)