The elder and lawful ruler of a French province is deposed by his younger brother, Frederick. The old duke, driven from his dominions, flees with several faithful followers to the Forest of Arden. There he lives a happy life, free from the cares of the court and able to devote himself at last to learning the lessons nature has to teach. His daughter, Rosalind, remains at court as a companion to her cousin Celia, the daughter of the usurping Duke Frederick. The two girls are inseparable, and nothing her father says or does would make Celia part from her dearest friend.
One day, Duke Frederick commands the two girls to attend a wrestling match between the duke’s champion, Charles, and a young man named Orlando, who is a special object of Duke Frederick’s hatred because he is the son of Sir Rowland de Boys, who was one of the banished duke’s most loyal supporters. Before Sir Rowland dies, he charges his oldest son, Oliver, with the task of looking after his younger brother’s education, but Oliver neglects his father’s charge. The moment Rosalind lays eyes on Orlando she falls in love with him, and he with her. She tries to dissuade him from an unequal contest with a champion so much more powerful than he, but the more she pleads the more determined Orlando is to distinguish himself in his lady’s eyes. In the end he completely conquers his antagonist and is rewarded for his prowess by a chain from Rosalind’s neck.
When Duke Frederick discovers his niece’s interest in Sir Rowland’s son, he immediately banishes her from the court. Rosalind disguises herself as a boy and sets out for the Forest of Arden, accompanied by Celia and the faithful Touchstone, the jester. Orlando finds it necessary to flee because of his brother’s harsh treatment. He is accompanied by the faithful servant Adam, an old man who willingly turns over his life savings of five hundred crowns for the privilege of following his young master.
Orlando and Adam set out for the Forest of Arden, but before they have traveled very far they are both weary and hungry. While Adam rests in the shade of some trees, Orlando wanders into that part of the forest where the old duke is and comes upon the outlaws at their meal. Desperate from hunger, Orlando rushes upon the duke with a drawn sword and demands food. The duke immediately offers to share the hospitality of his table, and Orlando blushes...
(The entire section is 981 words.)