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As You Like It

William Shakespeare

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.