365 Days of Shakespeare

That's right – the Bard in a year.

270. As You Like It: the bare-bones summary

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One of Shakespeare’s most enjoyable comedies, “As You Like It” has achieved immortality if for nothing else than for being the play to contain the “All the world’s a stage” speech. It is a wonderful lark of a play, a delightful combination of equal parts sweet romance and downright hilarity. It is a play suitable for all ages, and one that leaves audience members grinning long after the epilogue.

It begins when Rosalind falls in love with Orlando, but shortly thereafter is banished from her home by her uncle, her faithful cousin Celia coming along. To protect themselves, Rosalind disguises herself as a boy named Ganymede and Celia pretends to be Ganymede’s mistress, named Aliena. The two take refuge in the Forest of Arden, where they meet a colorful cast of characters who reside there.

Orlando ends up coming across Rosalind-as-Ganymede, and she convinces him that in order to woo his love, he ought to practice. Of course, she offers her services as the “practice” Rosalind – quite a clever move on her part.

Other hijincks in the Forest of Arden include the hopeless Sylvius, desperately in love with Phebe, who could not be less attracted to him. The disguised Rosalind, however, is quite appealing to her, so Rosalind ends up in a hilarious love triangle that only Shakespeare could have made so poetic.

When it all gets to be a little too much, Rosalind assures Phebe and Silvius that they will both be married very soon, and to the person they ought to. She also assures them that she will be married to the person she ought to. Of course, Phebe thinks that this means that Rosalind will be marrying her!

Little to any of these characters know, Rosalind apparently has an in with the gods – she somehow manages to summon Hymen, the god of marriage, to ascend from the clouds and put each couple right. Orlando marries Rosalind (after she reveals her true self, of course), Phebe and Silvius end up together, and Celia ends up marrying Orlando’s brother Oliver, who pretty much shows up out of nowhere and sweeps Celia off her feet. Rosalind’s family drama is resolved, and everyone lives happily ever after.

So even though the ending of the play is mainly thanks to a dues ex god showing up, it is hard not to want to join in with the characters as theycelebrate their happy endings!


Written by Caroline Mincks

June 28, 2010 at 8:49 PM

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