As You Like It By William Shakespeare Summary and Analysis Act I: Scene 3

Summary

Shortly afterward in the palace, we hear Rosalind confess her love for Orlando to Celia; she begs that Celia love him also for her sake. The girls' talk of love, however, is interrupted by the duke's furious entrance. "Full of anger," he tells Rosalind that she is to be banished from the palace within ten days: "If that thou be'st found / So near our public court as twenty miles, / Thou diest for it."

Rosalind protests that she is no traitor to him, and Celia begs her father to relent, but he is adamant. He repeats his threat once more, then leaves them. Celia is determined that the two girls will not be separated, and she proposes to go with Rosalind to join Rosalind's deposed father in the Forest of Arden. But when they both realize that they are fearful of the dangers of the journey, they decide to disguise themselves: Rosalind will dress as a boy, taking the name of "Ganymede," and Celia will dress as a young farm girl and use "Aliena" as her name. Moreover, Celia will convince Touchstone, one of her father's jesters, to join them. Happy and excited, she and Rosalind go off to pack their "jewels and wealth" to take with them on their flight.

Analysis

Here, Duke Frederick's villainy is fully revealed. He banished Rosalind from his court because she reminds the people of her exiled father: "Thou art thy father's daughter. There's enough!" He suffers no remorse when his daughter, Celia, states her intent of accompanying Rosalind. He tells Celia, "You are a fool."

Thus, the stage is set for Rosalind to join her father in the Forest of Arden. There can be little doubt that Orlando will soon join the group, for we have seen that Oliver's temper is much like Frederick's. The plot is further complicated at this point with a dramatic device that was a favorite of Elizabethan audiences; when the two girls decide to go forth alone in the world, they go in disguise. Rosalind chooses to go as "Ganymede" (the name of a Trojan youth abducted to Olympus, where he was made the cupbearer of the gods and became immortal), and Celia chooses to go as "Aliena." Shakespeare takes both names from the novel Rosalynde (1590) by Thomas Lodge.

That the girls should take Touchstone with them serves two key purposes. First, the ploy is used so that a masterful critic of society will be in the Forest of Arden, and there he will, ironically and unexpectedly, fall in love with Audrey, an earthy, country woman; second, the fact that Touchstone will accompany the girls makes him a favorite of the audience; he is a brave and loyal friend to the two heroines.

Celia's concluding lines — "Now go we in content / To liberty and not to banishment" — foreshadow the mood expressed in the following scene by Duke Senior, Rosalind's father. This mood of freedom, the prevailing mood of the Forest of Arden, will be expressed throughout the play.

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