As You Like It – Summary from ‘Tales from Shakespeare’, Class – 11, WBCHSE

Introduction :

‘As You Like It’ is a comedy written by William Shakespeare. All the main characters in the play exiled to The Forest of Arden and they reconciled at the end. The story is about romantic love between Rosalind and Orlando and Celia and Oliver. And it ends with their happy marriages.

Banishment of Duke and the life in the Forest of Arden :

In a Provence of France, Duke Fredrick, a usurper, deposed and banished his lawful elder brother. Being drive away he returned to the Forest of Arden along with his faithful followers. Soon they got accustomed to the adversities of wildlife in the forest but felt more relaxing than court.

Rosalind remained left in the palace :

Rosalind, the daughter of banished duke still remained in the palace as Celia, the daughter of Duke Fredrick, loved her sister dearly. The discords of their fathers did not affect their friendship.

The wrestling match between inexperience Orlando and a practiced wrestler :

A wrestling match was arranged in the court. A messenger came to invite Rosalind and Celia for the match. Celia agreed to go there as it might cheer Rosalind. But the wrestling match was an uneven one between a practiced wrestler and a young man. Certainly, they were going to see a tragic end as the young man must be killed

Rosalind’s inclination towards Orlando and his victory in the wrestling :

The duke asked the ladies to dissuade the young man from the match. First Celia and then Rosalind tried to resist the young man from the bout. But the youth became more determined to prove his valour in front of the ladies. During their conversation, Rosalind came to know that Orlando had no one in this wide world to lament over him. She felt an inclination towards him and almost fell in love. The encouraging words of the ladies worked wondered, he defeated his opponent. When the true identity of the young man was disclosed, Rosalind became very happy. She gave a chain from her neck as a token of love.

Duke Fredrick’s discontentment and banishment of Rosalind :

Duke Fredrick’s pleasure turned into displeasure when he came to know Orlando was the son of Rowland de Boys, a friend of the banished duke. On the other hand, Duke Fredrick could not just tolerate people praised Rosalind for her virtues and pitied her for her father. He ordered Rosalind to join her father in the forest.

Disguise of Rosalind and Celia and their journey to the Forest of Arden :

When Celia found it was not possible to change his father’s decision, she decided to accompany Rosalind in the Forest of Arden. To avoid danger, they put off their rich attire. Rosalind disguised herself as Ganymede, a country lad and Celia took the name of Aliena. They reached the forest of Arden almost dying with fatigue and hunger. They bought a cottage including the sheep of the owner and started to spend life as shepherd and shepherdess.

The cause of Orlando and Adam’s journey to the Forest of Arden :

At the time of Sir Rowland de Boys’ death, he placed all the responsibilities of Orlando to his elder son Oliver. But Oliver neglected his duties to educate and bring him up properly. Yet he grew up to be a fine man. Oliver designed a plan to kill Orlando. He had arranged that wrestling match. Destiny cannot be changed. When Oliver heard the news of his brother’s victory, he decided to burn his brother while he would sleep. Adam, a faithful servant of Sir Rowland de Boys, overheard the plot and on request of him, Orlando and Adam fled to the Forest of Arden.

Orlando and Adam came under the protection of Duke :

On their journey to the forest, Adam became exhausted due to hungriness. Orlando carried him to the shelter of a tree and went off in search of food. He arrived at the Duke’s camp at dinner time and demanded food drawing the sword. The duke was kind enough to give him food. When the duke came to know the real identity of Orlando, he took them under his care.

Orlando and Ganymede’s game of love :

In memory of Rosalind, Orlando carved the name of his beloved on the bark of trees and attached love sonnet in her praise. Rosalind was surprised to see her name carved on the trees. When they met Orlando, Ganymede promised that she would help to cure Orlando’s lovesickness. Rosalind asked him to visit every day in their cottage and Ganymede would pretend as Rosalind. But instead of curing Orlando, Ganymede felt highly satisfied.

Reconciliation of Oliver and Orlando :

One morning when Orlando was going to meet Ganymede, he saw a man was lying on the ground and a snake twisted around his neck. Orlando saved the man from the venomous snake and fought with a dangerous lioness. The man was on other but his elder brother Oliver who not only neglected his duties but also tried to get rid of him. In the time of grim fighting, the lioness had torn his arm with her sharp claws. Now Oliver was full of remorse for his conduct and begged his mercy. Orlando forgave him and took him in his arms.

Love between Oliver and Aliena :

Orlando sent Oliver to Ganymede and Aliena to inform them that he would not able to come as he was injured. Oliver narrated everything to Aliena and repented over his misdeeds. They felt love for each other. In the meantime when they were exchanging hearts, Ganymede fainted overhearing all these and it surprised Oliver very much.

Marriages of two couples :

Returning home, Oliver described the fainting of Ganymede and his love towards Aliena. Orlando decided to arrange the wedding of Oliver and Aliana. Ganymede also promised Orlando to bring Rosalind on the wedding day by a special magical power if he really loved Rosalind. The next morning, they came to the Duke. The Duke was extremely happy to hear that his daughter would be appeared on that day. He also agreed to marry Rosalind with Orlando. The two sisters put off their disguises and appeared to their real selves in front of all. The two couples got married in the forest without the grandeur of the palace yet all were very happy.

Duke Fredrick’s transformation :

When they were enjoying the wedding party, a messenger came and informed that Duke Fredrick had given up all his earthly pleasures and resorted the dukedom to the lawful Duke. To end his miseries, Fredrick resolved to kill his brother. When he came into the forest, a hermit transformed him completely.

The ending :

The unexpected news enlivened the festivity and rejoicing of the marriages. The Duke rewarded all his true followers who accompanied him in his adversity. The Duke along with all returned to the palace happily.

Read more about : Collection of M.C.Q. from The previous year Annual Exams from ‘Tales From Shakespeare, Class 11, WBCHSE

Read more about : As You Like It – questions and answers(S.A.Q.), Class – 11, WBCHSE

Read more about : As You Like It – questions and answers(L.A.Q.), Class – 11, WBCHSE

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