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-->''All the world's a stage,''
-->''And all the men and women merely players.''
-->''They have their exits and their entrances;''
-->''And one man in his time plays many parts...''
-->--'''Jaques''', 2.7

A comedy by Creator/WilliamShakespeare. Like many of his lighter plays, this one focuses on young love, comic misunderstandings, and good ol' fashioned cross-dressing.

Duke Senior has been usurped by his brother, Frederick. He flees to a paradise-like forest called "The Forest of Arden," along with some servants and friends. His daughter, Rosalind, stays behind; she is the best friend of Frederick's daughter, Celia, and so he tolerates her-- for a while. Orlando, a young nobleman, sees Rosalind and instantly falls in love, but his older brother, Oliver, casts him out of his home. He, too, flees to the forest.

Eventually, Frederick becomes agitated with Rosalind, and she escapes to the woods with Celia and the court clown, Touchstone. To protect themselves, they don disguises-- Celia dresses as a woman called Aliena, and Rosalind pretends to be a man named Ganymede. They meet up with the servants of the true Duke (including a very depressed and depressing man called Jaques), who takes them in.

The majority of the plot is spent on the romances. Orlando, still in love with Rosalind, hangs love notes for her on the trees in the woods. Rosalind, equally in love with Orlando but still disguised as a man, encourages him to pursue her. Phebe, a shepherdess, falls in love with Ganymede, and she in turn is loved by Silvius, a shepherd. Even Touchstone the Clown has a woman he's pursuing.

Eventually, due to a mixture of cunning plots and DeusExMachina, the tangled love triangles are sorted out and Oliver and Frederick mend their ways, returning power to their brothers. The play ends with ''four'' marriages, and everyone returns happily to the duchy-- except melancholy Jaques, who joins a monastery.

The plot is closely based on the novel ''Rosalynde; or, Euphues' Golden Legacy'' by Thomas Lodge, published 1590.

The play has been adapted on film Sir Laurence Olivier's in 1936 (it was his first Shakespeare film adaptation) and another Film was made by KennethBranagh, which reset the play in Meiji Japan.
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!!Tropes
* ActorAllusion: A touchstone is a tool used in jewellery to assess the quality of precious metals. Robert Armin, who created the role of Touchstone (probably his first major role), had trained as a goldsmith before deciding to become an actor.
* AdaptationExpansion: Of Thomas Lodge's novella ''Rosalynde'', which contained the plot and most of the main characters, albeit with different names. Touchstone, Jaques and Audrey were all created by Shakespeare himself, as was the semi-subplot involving them.
* AfraidOfBlood: Rosalind passes out seeing a handkerchief with the wounded Orlando's blood on it.
** Subverted in that she's not upset about the blood itself so much as the fact that it's her beloved Orlando's blood. This is {{lampshade|Hanging}}d by Celia, who can't really explain the situation to Oliver because he still thinks Rosalind's a boy.
--> '''Oliver:''' Many will swoon when they do look on blood.
--> '''Celia:''' There is more in it.
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys:
--> '''Phebe:''' Sweet youth, I pray you, chide a year together;
--> I had rather hear you chide than this man woo.
* AmbiguouslyGay: Le Beau is sometimes played like this: See HaveAGayOldTime below.
* {{Arcadia}}: The Forest of ''Arden''. [[Literature/TheBible Ringing any bells?]]
** Well, it's a real place in France. Known as the Ardennes nowadays.
** There is also a Forest of Arden in England that was just outside Shakespeare's hometown of Stratford-on-Avon. In fact, Shakespeare's mother was born Mary Arden. Her family had taken their name from the forest. No doubt Shakespeare combined elements of all these for the play.
* AsYouKnow: One of the more famous examples. "As I remember, Adam..."
* AttractiveBentGender: Rosalind
* AuthorAvatar: Some have suggested William, the character who appears only to give Touchstone a chance to make fun of him. He has the same name as the author and was likely played by him (as Shakespeare was an actor in his own company) as well. A bit of SelfDeprecation, painting himself as a foolish yokel.
* BadassBoast: Touchstone telling William "I will kill thee a hundred and fifty ways".
* {{Bifauxnen}}: Rosalind again. She gives [[Theatre/TwelfthNight Viola]] a run for her money.
* CardCarryingVillain: Oliver de Boys, before his HeelFaceTurn, says of his brother Orlando:
--> ''I hope I shall see an end of him; for my soul, yet I know not why, hates nothing more than he. Yet he's gentle, never schooled and yet learned, full of noble device, of all sorts enchantingly beloved, and indeed so much in the heart of the world, and especially of my own people, who best know him, that I am altogether misprised.''
** In other words, "Orlando is truly a good guy, and I want him dead for no good reason." (The subtext may suggest [[GreenEyedMonster jealousy]] as a possible motive.)
* CanonForeigner: Jaques (who actually ''is'' a foreigner in the story), Touchstone and the characters in his subplot (Audrey, Oliver Mar-Text and William), and Amiens.
* ComicRolePlay: Orlando practice his declaration of love to Rosalind on Ganymede, who is (of course) Rosalind in disguise.
* CoupledCouples: Brothers Orlando and Oliver falling for cousins Rosalind and Celia.
* DeadpanSnarker: The melancholy Jacques gets a lot of lines befitting one of these, but the delivery (of course) depends on the actor.
** Touchstone, too.
** Rosalind has a few good one-liners:
-->'''Touchstone:''' Well, if I don't keep up my rank-
-->'''Rosalind:''' ...you'll lose your smell.
* DeathByAdaptation: Any production that implies Adam's death (such as the 1996 {{R|oyalShakespeareCompany}}SC production).
* DeusExMachina: Oliver repents his ways and reunites with Orlando because Orlando saves him from a conveniently placed ''lion''. Riiight.
** Also, Fredrick just ''suddenly'' has a change of heart, goes religious, and gives the duchy back to the Duke? All offstage? Due to a previously unmentioned THIRD brother?
** A literal example; at the end of the play Hymen, the Greek God of Marriage, arrives with Rosalind to sort out the four couples once and for all, and give his blessing to their marriages.
* DisproportionateRetribution: Touchstone's threatened punishment to William for ''daring'' to like Audrey:
--> "...abandon the society of this female, or, clown, thou perishest; or, to thy better understanding, diest; or, to wit I kill thee, make thee away, translate thy life into death, thy liberty into bondage: I will deal in poison with thee, or in bastinado, or in steel; I will bandy with thee in faction; I will o'errun thee with policy; I will kill thee [[UpToEleven a hundred and fifty ways]]: therefore tremble and depart!"
* DramaticIrony: Rosalind's RecursiveCrossdressing
* EasyEvangelism: See DeusExMachina.
* TheEeyore: Jaques spends essentially every moment on stage being either doleful or [[DeadpanSnarker snarky]].
* FourTermsFallacy: Used by Touchstone to prove that Corin is going to hell because he never went to court.
--> Why, if thou never wast at court, thou never sawest good manners; if thou never sawest good manners, then thy manners must be wicked; and wickedness is sin, and sin is damnation. Thou art in a parlous state, shepherd.
* GenreSavvy: Rosalind is unimpressed when Orlando trots out Petrarchan cliches.
* GetTheeToANunnery: The meaning of touchstone's speech punning on "hour" takes on a quite different meaning once you realize that in Elizabethan English, ''hour'' and ''whore'' were homophones.
--> Thus we may see,' quoth he, 'how the world wags:
--> 'Tis but an hour ago since it was nine,
--> And after one hour more 'twill be eleven;
--> And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe [[note]]''ripe'' and ''rape'' was also pronounced the same back then[[/note]],
--> And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot;
-->And thereby hangs a tale.'
* GhibliHills
* GrumpyBear: Jaques is a pre-Nietzsche NietzscheWannabe stuck in a pastoral comedy.
* HaveAGayOldTime
--> '''Le Beau''' ''(to Orlando):'' Sir! Fare thee well. Hereafter, in a better world than this, [[HoYay I shall desire much love and knowledge of you.]]
* HeelFaceTurn: Oliver and Frederick
** HeelFaithTurn: Frederick (off-stage) decides to give up the duchy after talking to an old cleric and finding religion.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Rosalind and Celia.
* TheJester: Touchstone. {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d by Jaques when he reveals that he plans on becoming "a fool" as well--he'd ''love'' to be able to criticize everyone and everything without retribution!
* LoveAtFirstSight: A major theme.
** Played straight with Oliver and Celia.
** Toyed with when it comes to Rosalind and Orlando; they're both fairly smitten the first time they meet, but she feels the need to test the truth of his feelings with an elaborate deception.
** Subverted with Phebe. She originally spurns Silvius and falls for "Ganymede" right away, but when it becomes obvious [[MistakenIdentity that]] [[GenderBender isn't]] [[HoYay going]] [[IncompatibleOrientation to work]], it's Silvius' unswerving devotion that wins the day.
* LoveLetterLunacy: Hanging love notes on every tree in the forest.
* ManlyTears: Apparently, Orlando and Oliver really turned on the waterworks after the latter's conversion:
--> When from the first to last betwixt us two
--> Tears our recountments had most kindly bathed...
* MeaningfulName: Celia deliberately uses one of these as her alias ("Aliena" means "the estranged one"), as she wants her name to be "something that hath a reference to [her] state". Rosalind's 'Ganymede' comes from the mythological cupbearer/lover of Zeus, and given that Orlando is SweetOnPollyOliver...
* MenDontCry: Referenced several times by Celia and Rosalind. Rosalind's disguised as a man, so crying wouldn't "become" her.
* MistakenIdentity
* MortonsFork: Touchstone's attempt to argue for unchastity. (In a beautiful woman, chastity would be "honey as a sauce to sugar", while in an unattractive one, it is "good meat in an unclean dish".)
* NatureLover: Or so they profess in exile.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Touchstone, in the finest tradition of Shakespeare's clowns.
* OldRetainer: Adam (to Orlando)
* OneSteveLimit: Avoided-- Oliver the brother and Oliver the priest; melancholy Jaques and Orlando's brother Jaques.
* OnlySaneMan: Oliver Mar-text, the country priest, comes off this way, although he only has one appearance and very few lines. He provides the punchline at the end of the scene when he's all set to marry Touchstone and Audrey, but they decide to ditch him (on Jaques' advice) and exit the scene singing and dancing:
--> 'Tis no matter. Ne'er a fantastical knave of them all shall flout me out of my calling.
* PersonAsVerb: "She Phebes me."
* PungeonMaster: Touchstone.
* RagsToRoyalty
* RecursiveCrossdressing
* SelfDeprecation: In the epilogue, Rosalind says that it is "neither a good epilogue nor cannot insinuate with you in the behalf of a good play".
* SparedByTheAdaptation: In ''Rosalynde'', the usurping Duke is killed in an epic forest battle at the end, much to the sorrow of his daughter. In keeping with the happy ending of a comedy, he merely converts offstage in ''As You Like It.''
* StalkerWithACrush: Half the cast can be played this way to one extent or another.
* StylisticSuck: Orlando's poetry, to a certain extent. It's not terrible, but it's definitely amateurish (at least compared to what Shakespeare was capable of writing), and, as Touchstone points out, it's ''way'' too easy to parody.
* SweetOnPollyOliver: Orlando and Phobe have no idea that "Ganymede" is a girl.
* TriangRelations: Orlando and Rosalind are in love, but Rosalind is [[WholesomeCrossdresser pretending to be a boy]], and Phoebe [[SweetOnPollyOliver has a crush on said boy]], and Silvius is in love with ''her''... [[spoiler: Resolved when Rosalind reveals herself to be a girl.]]
* WholesomeCrossdresser: Rosalind.
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