As You Like It Act V, Scene 4
by William Shakespeare

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Act V, Scene 4

New Characters
Hymen: the god of marriage

Jaques de Boys: second son of the late Sir Rowland de Boys; brother of Oliver and Orlando

The next day, Duke Senior, Amiens, Jaques, Orlando, Oliver, and Aliena gather in the forest. Duke Senior asks Orlando whether he feels Ganymede can do all he has promised. Orlando replies that he has been wavering between belief and disbelief; he is afraid of being disappointed. Rosalind, still disguised as Ganymede, enters with Silvius and Phebe and asks those who have assembled to have patience while she confirms that everyone has agreed to keep their promises. Duke Senior pledges his permission for Rosalind to marry Orlando if Rosalind appears. Orlando declares that he will marry Rosalind. Phebe says she will marry Ganymede if "he" is willing, but she promises if for any reason she decides not to marry Ganymede she will marry Silvius, who quickly agrees to marry Phebe if she will have him. Rosalind reaffirms her pledge to solve everyone's problems. After cautioning the lovers to "keep your word," she exits with Aliena. Duke Senior remarks that "I do remember in this shepherd boy/ Some lively touches of my daughter's favor." Orlando comments to the Duke that the first time he saw Ganymede he thought "he" was "a brother to your daughter." However he insists that Ganymede is "forest-born."

Touchstone and Audrey enter, and Jaques observes that there seems to be a flood in store, for couples are arriving two by two as they did when the Biblical Noah built his ark. Touchstone and Audrey, he remarks, seem "a pair of very strange beasts, which in all tongues are known as fools." Jaques tells Duke Senior that Touchstone has claimed to have been a courtier. Touchstone immediately retorts that if anyone doubts his word, they may put him to the test. At Jaques' prodding, he launches into witty discourses on the habits of courtiers, their quarrelsome natures, and the seven types of lies they practice. Duke Senior, pleased with Touchstone's wit, agrees with Jaques' observation that Touchstone is "a rare fellow."

Rosalind and Celia, now dressed in feminine attire, enter along with Hymen, the god of marriage. Soft music is heard, and Hymen asks Duke Senior to receive his daughter. Rosalind gives herself, in turn, to her father and to Orlando, and Phebe comments that "If sight and shape be true,/ Why then, my love adieu/ " Hymen remarks that confusion has now been brought to an end, and that it is time to "make conclusion/ Of these most strange events." The four pairs of lovers join hands, and Hymen blesses their union. A joyous wedding song follows. Duke Senior welcomes Celia, and Phebe pledges herself to Silvius.

The wedding festivities are interrupted by the sudden entrance of Jaques de Boys, the second son of the late Sir Rowland. He brings the news that Duke Frederick, having learned that every day "men of great worth" were fleeing into the forest of Arden, had raised an army and headed toward the forest with the intention of killing Duke Senior. When Duke Frederick arrived on the outskirts of the forest, however, he met an old religious hermit. After speaking with the hermit, Duke Frederick decided to abandon his deadly mission and forsake the world for a religious life. He also restored his dukedom to his banished brother.

Duke Senior is overjoyed at this news. He welcomes Jaques de Boys and remarks that he has brought additional happiness to his brothers' wedding. He pledges to restore to Oliver the lands Duke Frederick had confiscated, and he names Orlando as his heir. He also promises that the courtiers who have joined him in his exile will share in his good fortune when he returns to his dukedom. He calls for music and a wedding dance.

Only Jaques does not share in the festive spirit. He tells Duke Senior that he plans to join Duke Frederick in an austere religious life, remarking that "Out of these convertites/ There is much matter to be heard and learned." Jaques bestows his blessings upon Duke Senior,...

(The entire section is 1,445 words.)