As You Like It Sample Essay Outlines
by William Shakespeare

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Sample Essay Outlines

The following paper topics are based on the entire play. Following each topic is a thesis and a sample outline. Use these as a starting point for your paper.

Topic #1
Fortune and nature are two of the central themes of William Shakespeare's As You Like It. Write an essay that discusses the role of these elements in the lives of Orlando, Oliver, Duke Senior, Duke Frederick, and Rosalind. Nature, in this instance, refers to human nature rather than to the natural world.

I. Thesis Statement: Fortune and nature play key roles in the lives of Orlando, Oliver, Duke Senior, Duke Frederick, and Rosalind.

II. Orlando

A. Fortune has deprived Orlando of his rightful inheritance.

B. Fortune enables Orlando to win his wrestling match with Charles and earn the love of Rosalind.

C. Orlando's relationship with Adam reveals that he is noble by nature.

D. Orlando must leave his home after learning that his brother plans to kill him, but fortune rewards him when he woos and wins Rosalind in the forest.

E. At the end of the play, fortune bestows gifts on the deserving Orlando: he marries the woman he loves and is named heir to a dukedom.

III. Oliver

A. Fortune rewards Oliver with control over his late father's estate.

B. Oliver is revealed by his words and actions as a villain by nature.

C. Fortune prevents Oliver's murderous plots against his brother from succeeding.

D. Oliver encounters ill fortune when his estate is seized by Duke Frederick and he is banished from the court until he finds Orlando.

E. Fortune rewards the undeserving Oliver; Orlando saves his life when he is threatened by a snake and a lioness.

F. Oliver's nature changes after he is rescued by Orlando; he is rewarded by fortune with Celia's love.

IV Duke Senior

A. Fortune has deprived Duke Senior of the dukedom to which he is the rightful heir.

B. Duke Senior makes the most of his misfortune by establishing a happy life in the Forest of Arden; his optimistic nature enables him to find sweetness in his adversity.

C. Duke Senior reveals by his words and actions that he is generous and kind; for example, he invites Orlando and Adam to share in his feast.

D. Fortune rewards Duke Senior by restoring his dukedom and uniting his daughter in marriage with a man who is also noble in nature. Sample Analytical Paper Topics 97

V. Duke Frederick

A. Fortune has unfairly rewarded Duke Frederick with a dukedom to which he is not entitled.

B. Duke Frederick is revealed as a villain by nature; he despises Orlando and Rosalind because they are virtuous and well-liked.

C. Fortune miraculously thwarts Duke Frederick's plan to capture and kill Duke Senior when he encounters an old religious hermit on the outskirts of the forest.

D. Duke Frederick, like Oliver, undergoes a sudden change in his nature and renounces his former ways.

VI. Rosalind

A. Fortune has deprived Rosalind of her father and her status as daughter of the reigning duke; she describes herself as "one out of suits with fortune."

B. In Rosalind's witty dialogue with Celia in Act 1, Scene 2, she comments that fortune's benefits are "mightily misplaced," and that the goddess Fortune is, by tradition, blind and bestows her gifts unequally.

C. Rosalind is revealed as romantic and kind by nature; the people of the dukedom "praise her for her virtues."

D. The apparent misfortune of Rosalind's banishment is, in fact, a stroke of good fortune, for Orlando has also arrived in the forest; Rosalind is granted the opportunity to test Orlando's love for her while she is disguised as Ganymede.

E. At the end of the play, fortune rewards Rosalind with a reunion with her father, whose dukedom has been restored, and marriage to the man she loves.

VII. Conclusion: In As You Like It, many of the characters have just cause to "rail on Lady Fortune" and the caprices of human nature. By the end of the play, however, those who were of evil nature have changed for the better, and fortune's gifts have been fairly bestowed.

Topic #2
In As You Like It , Shakespeare often contrasts city life and country...

(The entire section is 3,169 words.)