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As You Like It

William Shakespeare
Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

full title  As You Like It

author  William Shakespeare

type of work  Play

genre  Comedy, pastoral

language  English

time and place written  15981600; London, England

date of first publication  First published in the Folio of 1623

publisher  Isaac Jaggard and Edmund Blount

tone  Comic, romantic

setting (time)  Sixteenth century

setting (place)  France, primarily the fictional Forest of Ardenne

protagonist  Rosalind

major conflict  Rosalind and Orlando fall in love, but Rosalind is unjustly banished from Duke Frederick’s court; Orlando is both denied his birthright by his jealous brother Oliver and forced to flee from the vindictive Duke Frederick.

rising action  In order to teach Orlando how to be a proper husband to her, Rosalind disguises herself as a young man named Ganymede and instructs him in the ways of love.

climax  Rosalind promises to marry Orlando and gets Phoebe to agree to marry Silvius, should things go awry with her beloved Ganymede, who is actually Rosalind in disguise.

falling action  Rosalind, appearing as herself, marries Orlando, and Phoebe marries Silvius.

themes  The delights of love; the malleability of the human experience; city life versus country life

motifs  Artifice; homoeroticism; exile

symbols  Orlando’s poems; the slain deer; Ganymede

foreshadowing  Rosalind’s uncharacteristically awkward first encounter with Orlando anticipates the depth of her affection for him.