As You Like It

by: William Shakespeare

Orlando

What passion hangs these weights upon my tongue? I cannot speak to her, yet she urged conference. O poor Orlando! Thou art overthrown. Or Charles or something weaker masters thee. (I.ii.219–222)

Orlando speaks to himself after meeting Rosalind for the first time, shortly after his wrestling match. Orlando acknowledges that something, an emotion perhaps, has “mastered” him and reflects on how he became painfully tongue-tied when speaking to her. Orlando’s love for Rosalind takes hold fast, as does her love for him, and he quickly becomes the tortured lover.

Hang there, my verse, in witness of my love. (III.ii.1)

Orlando, madly in love with Rosalind, writes poems to her and hangs them on the trees of the forest of Ardenne. Like Silvius, Orlando plays the role of the gentleman lover and as such makes public, somewhat embarrassing professions of his love. Orlando’s behaviors demonstrate his nobility as a character and endear him to the reader.

Which I take to be either a fool or a cipher. (III.ii.265)

Orlando speaks to Jaques, who has just criticized Orlando for being such a fool in love. Orlando tells Jaques to look into a river and explains that there he’ll find either a “fool or a cipher” reflected back. Orlando might be uneducated, but he has the sense to understand the larger truth and can still stand up to Jaques’s educated wit.

I am he that is so love-shaked. I pray you tell me your remedy. (III.ii.330)

Orlando tells Rosalind, disguised as Ganymede, that he’s willing to follow Ganymede’s advice, whatever the remedy may be, to feel better since he’s so “shaked” by his love for Rosalind. Orlando openly acknowledges he has become lovesick, a brave admission on his part. Willing to do the ridiculous, Orlando agrees to play the part of a lover to Ganymede’s “Rosalind” to rid himself of love.

I can live no longer by thinking. (V.ii.45)

Orlando tells Rosalind, who remains disguised as Ganymede, that he can no longer go through with their role-playing. After watching his brother, Oliver, run off with his new love, Aliena, Celia in disguise, he is growing weary of pretending and wants to be with his true love, Rosalind, in real life. This moment seems crucial as now Rosalind sees she is about to lose Orlando, and so she feels forced to act.

Who could be out, being before his beloved mistress? (IV.i.70)

Orlando addresses this question to Rosalind, who remains disguised as Ganymede, as they discuss what events might play out if he and Rosalind were to actually meet again. Orlando feels incredulous that two people in love could ever run out of things to talk about. Like Silvius, Orlando possesses an idealized vision of love.

A man that had a wife with such a wit, he might say “Wit, whither wilt?” (IV.i.143–144)

Orlando speaks to Rosalind after she claims that the smarter a woman is, the less she can be controlled or kept by a man. In his response, Orlando tries to make an amusing play on words. Despite Orlando’s intelligence, he still cannot compete against Rosalind’s wit.

I sometimes do believe and sometimes do not, As those that fear they hope, and know they fear. (V.iv.2–3)

Duke Senior asks Orlando whether he trusts the boy, or Ganymede, to really deliver on his promise to get Rosalind to marry him. Here, Orlando responds to such doubts, saying even though he understands that being hopeful seems risky, he will hope anyway. Orlando’s generous, hopeful, and optimistic spirit shines throughout the play, making him an extremely likeable character.

My lord, the first time that I ever saw him Methought he was a brother to your daughter. (V.iv.29–30)

After Duke Frederick remarks that the shepherd Ganymede looks like his daughter, Rosalind, Orlando explains that he always suspected that Ganymede was Rosalind’s brother. Shakespeare throws a delightful wrench into the play with these lines, lightly suggesting that Orlando might have always known that Ganymede was actually Rosalind.

If there be truth in sight, you are my Rosalind. (V.iv.110)

When Rosalind returns as herself to the marriage ceremony she has set up at the end of the play, Orlando almost can’t believe his eyes and declares as much. He sees Rosalind standing before him, yet he seems to wonder if his eyes see reality. Rosalind’s magic, which permeated the entire play, is on display especially in this scene, and Orlando stands in awe of her power.