Why does Oliver try to have Orlando killed?

Oliver hates his younger brother, though he acknowledges that this hatred is unjustified. As he confesses to the wrestler Charles, “I hope I shall see an end of him, for my soul—yet I know not why—hates nothing more than he” (1.1.161–63). Although Oliver can’t articulate the reasons for his hatred, the audience understands that his disaffection stems from the simple fact that Orlando is much more likable than him. Possessed of natural intelligence and charm, Orlando has a nobler bearing than his eldest brother. As such, Orlando is arguably more deserving of the inheritance that, due to the convention of primogeniture, has automatically fallen to the eldest son alone. Oliver, recognizing the truth of this injustice, thinks to resolve the problem by having his brother killed.

Why does Rosalind disguise herself as Ganymede?

Rosalind disguises herself as the boy Ganymede as an act of self-preservation. When Duke Frederick banishes her and she decides to flee to the Forest of Arden with Celia, Rosalind realizes that it would be dangerous for two women to travel alone. Thus, being the taller of the two, she opts to dress in trousers and pretends to be a boy named Ganymede. But Rosalind remains in disguise long after her safety is assured. She continues with the charade because, by crossing normative gender boundaries, she can inhabit a balanced perspective that weighs male and female experience against one another. She uses this balanced perspective to educate others in matters of love and to secure her own preferred love match.

Where is the Forest of Arden?

As You Like It takes place in France, so the most obvious answer to this question is that the characters have fled to the Ardennes Forest, which stretches along modern-day France’s northern and eastern borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. However, it’s important to note that the forest in Shakespeare’s play is also a symbolic space of fantasy. In this regard, the forest is also a version of the historical Forest of Arden that once existed in Warwickshire, England, near where Shakespeare himself grew up. Aside from these real geographies, Arden is also an amalgamation of two imaginative geographies. As the name implies, Arden is a mixture of the idealized classical landscape of Arcadia and the biblical paradise of Eden.

Why is Jaques so melancholy?

Jaques is, by his own admission, an incurable melancholic, but his sullenness is arguably more of an affectation than it is a sign of depression. Indeed, he often seems to take great pleasure in maintaining a gloomy disposition. Those around him enjoy his relentlessly cynical take on life and love, which they take to be rather entertaining. Overall, then, Jaques’s melancholy doesn’t stem from trauma, grief, or mental illness. Rather, he uses melancholy to distinguish himself from his fellow nobles, marking himself as someone who stands apart from—and superior to—everyone else.

Why does Touchstone want to marry Audrey?

Perhaps the unlikeliest love match in As You Like It occurs between Touchstone, the witty court fool, and Audrey, an uneducated goatherd. So unlikely a match is this that the two lovers can barely communicate. Indeed, Audrey can’t understand half of what Touchstone says to her. So why does Touchstone want to marry her? By his own admission, Touchstone seems primarily motivated by sexual desire. He rejects any semblance of romantic love and likens himself to basic animal drives: “As the ox hath his bow, sir, the horse his curb, and the falcon her bells, so man hath his desires” (3.3.79–81). The base nature of his desire for Audrey also explains why he initially arranges for them to be married by an inconsequential country priest, Sir Oliver Martext: “he is not like to marry me well, and not being well married, it will be a good excuse for me hereafter to leave my wife” (3.3.91–94). In other words, he marries her so that he can have lawful sex with Audrey, then—if he chooses—leave her.