A comedy by William Shakespeare. 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 Deus ex Machina, 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 stays behind in the forest.The plot is closely based on the novel Rosalynde; or, Euphues' Golden Legacy by Thomas Lodge, published 1590.
Actor Allusion: 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.
Adaptation Expansion: 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.
Afraid of Blood: 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 lampshaded 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.
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.
As You Know: One of the more famous examples. "As I remember, Adam..."
"...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 a hundred and fifty ways: therefore tremble and depart!"
The Eeyore: Jaques spends essentially every moment on stage being either doleful or snarky.
Four Terms Fallacy: 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.
Genre Savvy: Rosalind is unimpressed when Orlando trots out Petrarchan cliches.
Get Thee to a Nunnery: Touchstone's speech punning on "hour," which was pronounced a bit differently back in Shakespeare's day...
Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Charles challenges Orlando, he calls for "this young gallant that is so desirous to lie with his mother earth". His phrasing makes it sound like he's looking for a young man eager to lie with hismother.
One Steve Limit: Avoided— Oliver the brother and Oliver the priest; melancholy Jaques and Orlando's brother Jaques.
Only Sane Man: 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.
Self-Deprecation: In the epilogue, Rosalind says that it is "neither a good epilogue nor cannot insinuate with you in the behalf of a good play".
Spared by the Adaptation: 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.
Stylistic Suck: 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.