Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

As You Like It

Rate this book
Readers and audiences have long greeted As You Like It with delight. Its characters are brilliant conversationalists, including the princesses Rosalind and Celia and their Fool, Touchstone. Soon after Rosalind and Orlando meet and fall in love, the princesses and Touchstone go into exile in the Forest of Arden, where they find new conversational partners. Duke Frederick, younger brother to Duke Senior, has overthrown his brother and forced him to live homeless in the forest with his courtiers, including the cynical Jaques. Orlando, whose older brother Oliver plotted his death, has fled there, too.

Recent scholars have also grounded the play in the issues of its time. These include primogeniture, passing property from a father to his oldest son. As You Like It depicts intense conflict between brothers, exposing the human suffering that primogeniture entails. Another perspective concerns cross-dressing. Most of Orlando’s courtship of Rosalind takes place while Rosalind is disguised as a man, “Ganymede.” At her urging, Orlando pretends that Ganymede is his beloved Rosalind. But as the epilogue reveals, the sixteenth-century actor playing Rosalind was male, following the practice of the time. In other words, a boy played a girl playing a boy pretending to be a girl.

263 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1599

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

William Shakespeare

24.9k books41.7k followers
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. Scholars believe that he died on his fifty-second birthday, coinciding with St George’s Day.

At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.

Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. Next he wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest examples in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime, and in 1623, two of his former theatrical colleagues published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's.

Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. The Romantics, in particular, acclaimed Shakespeare's genius, and the Victorians hero-worshipped Shakespeare with a reverence that George Bernard Shaw called "bardolatry". In the twentieth century, his work was repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular today and are consistently performed and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world.

According to historians, Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets throughout the span of his life. Shakespeare's writing average was 1.5 plays a year since he first started writing in 1589. There have been plays and sonnets attributed to Shakespeare that were not authentically written by the great master of language and literature.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
21,975 (27%)
4 stars
29,514 (36%)
3 stars
22,573 (28%)
2 stars
5,193 (6%)
1 star
1,275 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,630 reviews
Profile Image for Madeline.
775 reviews47k followers
September 22, 2009
Just saw this last night at the Shakespeare Tavern in Atlanta. So, naturally, here's...

As You Like It, abridged:

OLIVER: Hi everyone, I'm Oliver and I'll be your designated jackass for the evening.
ORLANDO: Hey bro! So, remember how you got me to wrestle that unbeatable guy and were all like, "he's so gonna kill you, mwahaha"? Well, I totally kicked his ass AND met this hot chick Rosalind. Man, it's great to be me!
ORLANDO: *runs*
ROSALIND: Hey Celia, your uncle just banished me for literally no reason. Wanna run away to the forest with me?
CELIA: Sure, why not?
SHAKESPEARE: Man, that shit NEVER gets old.
ORLANDO: OMG I LOVE ROSALIND SO MUCH. I will procede to show it in the dorkiest, most illogical way possible by nailing poems on trees.
ROSALIND/GANYMEDE: Hey there, stranger who I have never seen before! I just so happen to be an awesome love coach! I can help you marry this chick; just pretend that I'm her and always call me Rosalind and make me fall in love with you.
THAT GUY WHO GIVES THE "ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE" SPEECH: All the world's a stage, and...
CELIA: ...awkward.
ROSALIND: Okay, this is kind of a clusterfuck. Since we've already been nattering on for two and half hours, I'm gonna wrap things up: Phebe, you can't marry me because surprise! I'm a girl, so you have to marry the dorky shepherd you hate. Orlando, I've really been Rosalind the whole time, and why you haven't figured that out yet is really beyond me.
ORLANDA: Rosalind, I find your giant web of lies charming and cute, rather than deceitful and conniving. Let's get married.
OLIVER: Hey everybody, I'm good now!
ROSALIND: So I guess that pretty much wraps it up, except we're all still banished...
HUMAN DEUS-EX-MACHINA: Good news, everybody! The evil duke suddenly found Jesus and gave up his throne, so now Orlando gets it and everything is just about as perfect as it can possibly be!

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
February 10, 2022
As you like it, William ‎Shakespeare (1564-1616), c ‬1623

Characters: Main Characters:
The Court of Duke Frederick: Duke Frederick, Duke Senior's younger brother and his usurper, also Celia's father. Rosalind, Duke Senior's daughter. Celia, Duke Frederick's daughter and Rosalind's cousin. Touchstone, a court fool or jester. Le Beau, a courtier. Charles, a wrestler. Lords and ladies in Duke Frederick's court.

The Household of the deceased Sir Rowland de Boys: Oliver de Boys, the eldest son and heir. Jacques de Boys, the second son. Orlando de Boys, the youngest son. Adam, a faithful old servant who follows Orlando into exile. Dennis, Oliver's servant who called Charles.

The Exiled Court of Duke Senior in the Forest of Arden: Duke Senior, Duke Frederick's older brother and Rosalind's father. Jaques, a discontented, melancholic lord. Amiens, an attending lord and musician. Lords in Duke Senior's forest court.

Country folk in the Forest of Arden: Phoebe, a proud shepherdess. Silvius, a shepherd. Audrey, a country girl. Corin, an elderly shepherd. William, a country man. Sir Oliver Martext, a curate.
Other characters: Hymen, officiates over the weddings in the end; God of marriage, as appearing in a masque. Pages and musicians.

Abstract: As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 and first published in the First Folio in 1623. The play's first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility.

As you like it follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle's court, accompanied by her cousin Celia and Touchstone the court jester, to find safety and, eventually, love, in the Forest of Arden.

In the forest, they encounter a variety of memorable characters, notably the melancholy traveller Jaques who speaks many of Shakespeare's most famous speeches (such as "All the world's a stage", "too much of a good thing" and "A fool! A fool! I met a fool in the forest").

Jaques provides a sharp contrast to the other characters in the play, always observing and disputing the hardships of life in the country. ...

عنوانها: «هرطور میل شما است»؛ «هرطور که بخواهید»؛ اثر: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دوم ماه فوریه سال 2007میلادی

عنوان1: هرطور میل شما است؛ اثر: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ برگردان: فریده مهدوی دامغانی، نشر: اهواز؛ تیر، چاپ نخست 1378؛ در 148ص، شابک ایکس-964658103»؛ موضوع: نمایشنامه از نویسندگان انگلیسی - سده 16 م؛ چاپ دوم 1388

عنوان2: هرطور که بخواهید؛ اثر: ویلیام شکسپیر؛ برگردان: اسماعیل دولتشاهی، عبدالعلی دست‌غیب، نشر: شیراز؛ نوید شیراز، چاپ نخست 1385؛ در 238 ص، شابک: ایکس-964358285»؛

این نمایش در پنج پرده تدوین شده، و دارای بیست و یک شخصیت، و تعدادی سیاهی لشکر است؛ شخصیت‌های اصلی نمایشنامه، عبارتند از

دوک سینیور: دوک فرانسوی که در تبعید در کلبه‌ ای در بیشه‌ های «آردن انگلستان» زندگی می‌کند؛

فردریک: برادر جوانتر و غاصب املاک و دارایی دوک سینیور، با طبعی خشن و پرحسادت؛

اورلندو: جوان‌ترین پسر سر رولاند دوبوی (هرگز به مدرسه نرفته بود، ولی سرشار از مایه نجیب زادگی و شرافت بود)؛

اولیور: برادر شرور اورلندو؛

روزالیند: دختر زیبا و لطیفه گوی دوک تبعید شده (سرخی کوچک و زیبایی بر لبانش و سرخی رسیده تر و شهوت انگیزتری بر گونه‌ها دارد)؛

سلیا: دختر فردریک و دوست وفادار روزالیند

آدری: باکره‌ ای بدبخت، چیزی ناخواسته؛ دختر بزغاله صفتی بی احساس و اندک هرزه. ملعبه دست تاچسون و نقطه مقابل فی بی؛

فی بی: دختر چوپان؛ زیبا و دلدار سیلویوس

تاچسون: بذله گوی دربار؛

و «ژاک»؛ «امینز»؛ «لویر»؛ «چارلز»؛ «آدام»؛ «دنیس»؛ «کورین»؛ «سیلویوس»؛ «درسون»؛ «ویلیام»؛ «عالیجناب اولیور مارتکست»؛ «ژاک دو بوی»؛ خدمتکاران و امربران؛

محل و مکان رخدادهای نمایشنامه: خانه «اولیور»، قصر غصب شده «دوک سینیور»، و بیشه زار «آردن»؛

چکیده‌ ای از نمایشنامه: سینیور، دوک فرانسوی، که قصر و منطقه حکومتی‌ او را، برادر جوانترش «فردریک»، غصب، و ایشان را نیز تبعید کرده‌ است، اکنون در بیشه زارهای «آردن»، در «انگلستان»، پنهان گشته‌ است، و به همراهی گروهی از اطرافیان وفادار خود، زندگی پرماجرا و رابین هود گونه ی خویش را می‌گذراند؛ در موقعیتی دیگر دو برادر دیگر، «اولیور» و «اورلندو»، پسران عالیجناب «رولاند دوبوی»، از بزرگان مرحوم این دوک نشین فرانسه نیز، این روزها با هم درافتاده‌ اند، و به دنبال رخدادهایی، «اورلندو» و «سینیور» به هم می‌پیوندند، و «اورلندو» برای نخستین بار، «روزالیند» را می‌بیند، و عاشق او می‌شود، به دنبال سلسله رخدادهای کمیک، در نهایت «اورلندو»، به «روزالیند» می‌رسد، و از «فرانسه» هم خبر می‌رسد، که «فردریک» خیانتکار، در حین لشکرکشی به «آردن»، به دست یاران خود، دستگیر و در معبدی برای یک عمر توبه و عبادت، زندانی شده، و سرزمین دوک نیز به وی بازگشته‌ است

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 03/11/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 20/11/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Bill Kerwin.
Author 1 book81.5k followers
May 30, 2019

As in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Hamlet" and "Antony and Cleopatra," Shakespeare in "As You Like It" is able to join disparate elements in unusual proportion into a unified whole of tone and mood which may be rationalized but never completely explained. What I love about this play is the way in which it develops a conventionally suspenseful plot--complete with goodies and baddies, action-packed scuffles and wrestling matches, lovers "meeting cute," etc.--at breakneck speed for all of the first act, and then slows to something close to a halt once it reaches the Forest of Arden.

This is as it should be, since this forest is a place of magical transformation just as certainly as Oberon and Titania's fairie wood, a place where time stops and love grows and both are discussed and exemplified in language both witty and profound. At the end, all plot strands are resolved in what should be an unsatisfactory fashion, but somehow still manages to satisfy not only the characters themselves but also the audience, who have both been transformed by the timeless experience of Arden.
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
458 reviews3,242 followers
April 9, 2019
Orlando, the youngest, and most loved son of the late Sir Rowland de Boys, ( set in France in the 16th Century) is being mistreated by his older brother Oliver, the middle son Jaques, is away at school, since Oliver inherited most of the rich estate, and money, he has the power of the purse to do anything . He, Oliver is jealous of his sibling's superior attributes, Orlando lacks education, possessions, totally dependent on his brother, but the very simpatico boy's qualities, nevertheless shines brightly through, causing Oliver who hates him, to hate him even more. He arranges a wrestling match between Orlando and the vicious wrestler Charles, who has crippled three previous opponents and gives special orders to kill his brother... Things don't go as planned, and Charles is the one carried off unconsciously to the surprise of all, Rosalind witnesses this event and falls in love with Orlando. The political situation in the dukedom, at the court of Duke Frederick, who overthrew his brother Duke Senior, and exiled him is hazardous, the shaky ruler fears plots against him, all are potential enemies, his daughter's Celia's best friend and companion is her cousin Rosalind, the daughter of Duke Senior, which makes for an uneasy situation. Duke Frederick the paranoid royal, banishes his niece Rosalind, from court and threatens her with death if she remains, the loyal cousin Celia, will not abandon the person she loves the most in the world. They the two cousins secretly leave the palace, dressed like men for safety reasons during their travels, Rosalind becomes Ganymede, and Celia, takes the appropriate name Aliena, for additional help the court fool, Touchstone, also goes, he is a lot smarter than he looks. Meanwhile warned by the longtime family servant, old Adam, that Oliver is plotting to kill him, Orlando... the two flee to the Arden Forest, where the exiled Duke Senior lives with his followers . Duke Senior, is rather enjoying himself, no responsibilities, a leisurely existence in the beautiful woods, the food while not luxurious, is enough for his simple needs, shelter quite adequate for his people too, he doesn't care about losing power. Then the needy men and women, escaping the tyranny of his cruel brother, arrive, Celia, Rosalind, ( who while disguised, likes to play amusing tricks on Orlando) Touchstone, Adam, Orlando, and many others. And the nervous evil one Frederick, is bringing a vast army to crush the oblivious inhabitants of the forest paradise. One of Shakespeare's better comedies, still after 400 years , it will please readers who like to be entertained, and this not serious tale, does indeed accomplish that very well.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
August 21, 2018
I was at Shakespeare’s Globe in London yesterday watching this play and it was fab! I then came home and read it (got to love the literary life!)

The best thing about the performance was the fact that Orlando was played by a woman who was less that five feet tall and Rosalind was played by a man was way over six feet tall. Needless to say, this lead to many comic moments. Here’s some shots of the performance:

-Orlando & Rosalind


They only had to stand next to each other on the stage for the audience to burst out laughing.

The play displays much of what Shakespeare does best. There are explorations into gender politics and sexuality because of the layers added into the play; there are men playing female characters who then in turn pretend to be men, which makes it even more complex. As with most of his comedies, I find the magic of the work is lost on the page. These are plays that are meant to be performed!

Unlike many of Shakespeare’s plays, even the comedies, this was very light and breezy. Nobody died. Nobody suffered. And the ending was a mass matchmaking that only left me feeling warm inside. It’s an entertaining piece to watch, though once you’ve got your head round the plot it won’t make you think any further.

It is a funny piece, but not quite as good as Twelfth Night and I think it suffered a little with a background cast of pretty standard Shakespearean characters rather than standout personalities.

Certainly not his best comedy, though it is still quite fun!

Profile Image for James.
Author 19 books3,582 followers
August 22, 2017
Book Review
3 of 5 stars to As You Like It, a pastoral comedy and play written by William Shakespeare around 1599.

Rosalind falls for Orlando for many reasons in Shakespeare’s play As You Like It. Since Orlando is such a small man compared to Charles the wrestler, when Orlando beats Charles, Rosalind thinks that the “young man” is capable of great strength and survival despite his small frame. He has some hidden strength and power that he is able to fight up and beat his large opponent. He is such a free spirited man and seems so approachable. He is the good guy or the “boy next door” type. He has determination and skill. Orlando is powerful in his words too. His speech is eloquent and very convincing. He just seems like such a perfect man that any woman, particularly Rosalind, could fall for him.

Orlando comes across as a charmer and a seducer. He is quiet in some ways, yet he has an underlying sense of risk and danger. The darkness that surrounds him creates an aura of appeal to women. This is probably how Shakespeare intended the role to be played. He is a charismatic portrayer and wins the audience quite easily. When he is wrestling, he is strong and confidant, determined and willing. He could conquer the world. It seems as though he is the perfect actor for the role.

In the BBC version of As You Like It, the actor who plays Orlando reminds me of a weakened, run-of-the-mill schoolboy who hasn’t yet found himself. The character of Orlando is so much more. As a wrestler, he seemed to know what he was doing, but the match was so fake. At least in Olivier’s version, it looked somewhat possible for Orlando to beat Charles. In this version, I laughed at the whole scene. It seemed so fake. He was strong-minded, yet he didn’t have the physical appeal like Olivier did. Olivier looked like the Orlando I pictured. In the BBC version, the scenes between Orlando, Celia, and Rosalind seemed contrived. I thought Rosalind was just in a bit of shock over seeing Orlando win. I don’t think she was attracted to him or felt as though he was such a great man.

Olivier’s work is usually very close to the true Shakespearean plays, yet so are the BBC versions. It was hard to decide how I felt about these two. I though the casting was bad in the BBC version while in Olivier’s version, the casting was on target. I believed their every moves and emotions. The looks between Rosalind and Orlando were real, not just fake longings like those in the BBC version. I definitely preferred the Olivier version -- this time -- over the BBC one. It came closer to Shakespeare’s intentions.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators
Profile Image for Ted.
515 reviews744 followers
February 28, 2017
3 1/2+

Hm. Tried to resubmit this review earlier and all that happened was that it was posted that I'd just finished reading the play?!? Two years ago! What gives?

This is the second review of a Shakespeare play I’ve done. Happily, that means that I’ve read the second of my planned reads of all his plays, over the next ten years. So I’m on schedule. 8)

But it’s easy to be on schedule when you’ve barely started. 8/

Naturally, this review is structured a bit different from the first one I did (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) in which I posed questions about how I should go about this project, and played around with a sort of outline. In this one the outline has changed. We’ll see if it can become more permanent as it goes.

The Play

Like the first play I read, this is one of Shakespeare’s comedies. Evidence suggests that the play was written between June 1599 and August of the next year. Its first performance is uncertain, with 1603 a possibility. It was first published in the first folio in 1623.

Shakespeare took the story from a novel, Rosalynde, by one Thomas Lodge, that was first published in 1590.
Rosalynde was the most popular and one of the best of the pastoral romantic tales which were the fashion in the early 1590s. By 1598 the book was in its fourth edition. The story was thus likely to be well known to many in the original audience. Shakespeare followed his source fairly closely, though he added some characters of his own and changed most of the names.

As hinted above, it’s sometimes referred to as a “pastoral” comedy, where pastoral refers to a literary genre: pas•to•ral noun. A work of literature portraying an idealized version of country life.

As You Like It is one of the prime examples of pastoral literature. Whyso? Well, with the exception of three scenes, it takes place outside. The first two scenes are located in an orchard, and on a lawn. All remaining scenes (seventeen of them) are located in the “Forest of Arden”, near the geographical center of England***. There are actually a couple rather minor characters who are shepherds. And the view of life presented is certainly, if not quite idyllic, at least explicitly said more than once by the characters to be preferable to life in the courts, castles, etc. which are the other choice.

Of course this might be partly because several of the characters have been banished (unjustly) from those courts, castles, etc. by the play’s villains. So to some extent, Shakespeare tells a story about making the best out of a bad situation.

(***Note: This “Forest of Arden” may be a pun of Shakespeare’s? For elsewhere I see that the play is actually set in France, and if so, we might suppose that this also refers not only to the forest in England familiar to his audience, but also to the Adrennes region of present day Luxembourg/Belgium/France.)

The Forest of Arden (1888 - 1897, possibly reworked 1908), Albert Pinkham Ryder

But he also makes a case for the country life, especially through the character Jaques, a lord attending the Duke who has been banished, and has taken residence in the forest with his followers. Jaques plays almost NO PART in the play, other than to speak his lines, which offer his philosophical musings and opinions about the pastoral life and other human concerns beyond the mundane.

Jaques in fact represents, according to the Introduction in my edition, a break in Shakespeare’s main concern in his plays. “Hitherto he had balanced plot and character. Henceforward he was more interested in character, and he tended to pick out one or two persons in a play and to show their characters from every angle by bringing them into contact with a variety of persons and situations.”

This was totally new information to me, and one worth keeping in mind (assuming that it’s valid).

The twenty plays prior to As You Like It were: all the histories (ten) except Henry VIII (his last play); seven of the twelve comedies; only two tragedies (Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet); and only one of the six problem plays (Merchant of Venice).

The eighteen plays coming after As You Like It: the one history, four comedies (Twelfth Night, Merry Wives, All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure), the other eight tragedies, and the other five problem plays.

The Play and I

I immediately realized that I knew absolutely nothing about this play. Despite the title being familiar, I’d never read it, and had no idea that it is from this play (and from the mouth of Jaques) that comes:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like a pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances,
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered Pantaloon
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
What can follow that? Yeah, the rest of the play. But I’ll leave it there. For a synopsis of the play, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As_You_L...

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the play. I’ve rated it slightly above Midsummer Night’s Dream (well, 3 1/2 to 3 1/2 at present, but 4 to 3 in stars). I’m sure the reason was that I was paying attention to Jaques and some of the other characters for their views on country living, on love, and on man’s rather unfortunate predicament in life (though in the context of the light-hearted play it doesn’t seem so bad).

The comedy of the play is comprised partly of the fact that the main female protagonist, Rosalind, is disguised as a man (Ganymede) throughout much of the play; her interactions with Orlando, desperately in love with Rosalind but not of course with Ganymede, are the source of the usual mistaken-identity humor. But much more than this is the repartee that Shakespeare provides between pairs of characters (Rosalind/Celia, Orlando/Jaques etc.) in scene after scene, overloaded to the point of bursting with puns and double entendres. The audience must have been rolling in the aisles. But these dialogues, hard enough for the modern reader to follow with her footnotes explaining archaic meanings and long lost turns of phrase, are impossible for a play goer to get much out of – yes, the smile is there on the face, but the guffaw is missing. (A problem for any of Shakespeare’s comedy writing, of course.)

But some of the humor can’t fail to come through. I really did laugh out loud at this exchange. Rosalind implores Celia about information on Orlando, who Celia has just said she’s met in the forest:
ROS. Alas the day! What shall I do with my doublet and hose? What did he when thou sawest him? What said he? How looked he? Wherein went he? What makes he here? Did he ask for me? Where remains he? How parted he with thee? And when shalt thou see him again? Answer me in one word!
CEL. You must borrow me Gargantua’s mouth first. ‘Tis a word too great for any mouth of this age’s size. To say aye and no to these particulars is more than to answer in a catechism.
(My emphasis.) Heck, Celia’s reply isn’t even necessary, though it does put a lovely phrase to the preposterousness of Rosalind’s command.

The play and thee (them really)

My Coleridge book (Coleridge’s Writings on Shakespeare) has naught but a bit of marginalia he wrote on Oliver’s speech to the wrestler Charles, as Oliver gives him permission, even an admonition, to kill his brother (Orlando) when he faces him in a match. Coleridge: “It is too venturous to charge a speech in Shakespeare with want of truth to nature. And yet …” I won’t bother quoting the rest, I’m not sure I understand the fineness of the point he makes.

Here’s a couple reviews by GR friends: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... (short) and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... (longer, on Shakespeare’s use of Nature in the play).

In the play’s Wiki article, there are adaptations of As You Like It in several media mentioned here.

A Movie

I watched the 1936 film starring Laurence Olivier as Orlando and Elizabeth Bergner as Rosalind. When I finally finished reading the play and was ready to watch the DVD, which had been at my house from Netflix for months, I discovered that the disc was cracked. I should have taken this as a warning. Instead I searched Amazon and found that I could watch the same movie streaming at no cost (since I’m a Prime member).

I happily settled back to watch.

How do I loath thee?

Let me count the ways.

1. I had trouble understanding the dialogue. Not because of the Elizabethan language, the sound was just bad.

2. It didn’t even approach being funny. All the (admittedly difficult) dialogue that had them rolling in the aisles hundreds of years ago was gone, even the few lines that were quite readily humorous in our own age.

3. All the world’s a stage … was gone! Howso? Must have been a cost-cutting measure, because Jaques had been written out of the script.

4. But almost all of the songs written by the Bard for the play were there, set to insipid music and even crappy dance where that had been indicated in the play. (As You Like It the Musical)

Yup, it was a complete loss. If the DVD hadn’t been already busted I would have been tempted …

(Well, not a complete loss. Olivier was good.)

My Review

As you have already read it, I hope you Like It.
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 29 books13.7k followers
January 12, 2018
Celebrity Death Match Special: As You Like It versus Generic Thriller

All the world’s a thriller,
And all the men and women cardboard characters;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And when you think they've gone, pop up again.
Sometimes they've got a twin, and sometimes more
Their death, ofttimes, is faked or not for real
Two different babes may turn out to be one
Or else one babe, mayhap, can yet be two
And so the plot creaks on, and stiffs pile up
Until the hero finds the Big Reveal
And all is clear until the sequel's start
And then a second sequel, then a third
The author dies, but further sequels come
Written by some unhappy press-ganged hack
Sans wit, sans taste, sans thought, sans everything.
Profile Image for Darwin8u.
1,560 reviews8,690 followers
July 27, 2017
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:"

-- William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7


'As You Like It' has many things to commend it as a play. It is entertaining and filled with fantastic lines. It contains many of Shakespeare's favorite tropes: gender bending, mistaken/hidden identities, family squabbles/usurpation, love/lust, revenge, etc. It starts off well too -- but in the end, for me, it just sort of fizzles and farts out a bit. Limps out, perhaps, is a better way of stating it. Surrenders to an almost contrived and overly neat "happy Hymen ending". THIS is Shakespeare at his most fit. He is at the top of his game. This play, however, seems to be a bit phoned in at the end. Perhaps, Shakespeare knew he was about to deliver Hamlet.

Also, to be fair, this play does GET a lot of play. It is a crowd pleaser. A romance. A fancy. So, perhaps I'm just wanting him, unfairly, to hit home runs every time at bat. Mostly, I was displeased with how easily the villains (if you could call them that) turned. What? Suddenly, out of the blue Oliver de Boys sees the light? What? And all it takes is for Duke Frederick to run into a hermit in the woods and becomes religious. Ok. Weak, but OK.

Also, I'm not a big fan of music in Shakespeare's plays. Some probably dig it. I'm not in that camp.

Here are, however, some of my favorite lines, as you like:

-- "Always the dullness of the fool is the whetstone of the wits." (Act I, Scene 2)

-- "I earn that I eat, get that I wear,
owe no man hate,
envy no man's happiness,
glad of other men's good,
content with my harm."
(Act 3, Scene 2)

-- "Time travels in divers paces with divers persons." (Act 3, Scene 2)

-- "Men are April when they woo, December when they wed: maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives." (Act 4, Scene 1)

-- "Oh! how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes." (Act 5, Scene 2)
Profile Image for AiK.
495 reviews113 followers
August 26, 2022
Сегодня нам непросто понять, в чем же была соль комедии. В те времена существовал обычай наследования старшим сыном всего наследства, которое было сделано для того, чтобы не дробить крупные состояния. Поэтому Орландо - жертва этого принципа наследования. В пьесе мы видим и оборотную сторону - узурпацию власти со стороны младшего брата Фредерика у старшего герцога, отца Розалинды. Принцип первородства вел к жестокой вражде, мы видим, что Оливер готов убить Орландо, не сам, а руками Чарльза (Шарля). Вместе с тем,Орландо повел себя благороднее, спася спящего старшего брата от нападения змеи и льва.
И даже разобравшись с первородством, пьеса довольно парадоксальна, и этим сложнее для понимания, чем остальные произведения великого драматурга. Переодевания героев создают путаницу не только у героев пьесы, но и у читателя\зрителя.
Как в любой комедии, дело кончается хэппи эндом - браком и не одним, а сразу четырьмя, и восстановлением прав старшего герцога.
Самый замечательный момент в комедии - это монолог Жака.
Весь мир – театр.
В нём женщины, мужчины – все актёры.
У них свои есть выходы, уходы,
И каждый не одну играет роль.
Семь действий в пьесе той. Сперва младенец,
Ревущий громко на руках у мамки...
Потом плаксивый школьник с книжной сумкой,
С лицом румяным, нехотя, улиткой
Ползущий в школу. А затем любовник,
Вздыхающий, как печь, с балладой грустной
В честь брови милой. А затем солдат,
Чья речь всегда проклятьями полна,
Обросший бородой, как леопард,
Ревнивый к чести, забияка в ссоре,
Готовый славу бренную искать
Хоть в пушечном жерле. Затем судья
С брюшком округлым, где каплун запрятан,
Со строгим взором, стриженой бородкой,
Шаблонных правил и сентенций кладезь,–
Так он играет роль. Шестой же возраст –
Уж это будет тощий Панталоне,
В очках, в туфлях, у пояса – кошель,
В штанах, что с юности берёг, широких
Для ног иссохших; мужественный голос
Сменяется опять дискантом детским:
Пищит, как флейта... А последний акт,
Конец всей этой странной, сложной пьесы –
Второе детство, полузабытьё:
Без глаз, без чувств, без вкуса, без всего.
Profile Image for Dilushani Jayalath.
911 reviews158 followers
December 5, 2021
I shall not deem myself as someone who has the ability to write a review on Shakespeare thus I will take few words just to say that this is without doubt my favorite Shakespeare play yet. I am not well versed in Shakespeare neither do I have in depth knowledge on them but by my meager literary skills, I have judged this and it has come up as the victor. Yes at 26 years old I am still discovering Shakespeare. Don’t hold it against me.
As most majority (or maybe not even considering his most famous is a tragedy) I rather have more like towards his comedies and among them also I have this as my favorite. With time it may change but for now, this will remain on the top of my list. Rosalind is without doubt my favorite Shakespeare character with her realistic overlook of romance (and sometimes silliness). She has much more broad look at romance and even bring reality to Orlando. This has less of obnoxious characters which makes it much more attractive to the modern reader’s eyes. What really caught my eye was the homoeroticm or at least the slight innuendos that point towards it. Elizabethan stage itself blurred the lines of it and it seemed as if Shakespeare took advantage of it further with this. It in itself is a very interesting concept within the story.
Although I said I will only say few words, it seems I have overstated, so I shall take my leave. Adieu.
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,546 followers
April 7, 2022
What an absolutely extraordinary play. I absolutely am in love with Rosalind (as I was with Beatrice and so many other Shakespearean heroines!) In fact, I think that she is up there with Dalia Rideout as my favorite heroine of all time. Her sense of humor, her ability to change and adapt, and her sharp wit make this play so alive.

I read this using a copy I had in high school (Coral Gables, Class of '87) and found "Michelle" wrote me a note about drinking some green beer for St Patrick's Day. Well, I truly have no recollection if I had green beer eons ago at the bequest of this maiden, but if she should read this lowly commentary, perhaps she can let me know? I checked and there were only three Michelle's in my senior class, one of which went by "Shelly", but I don't recall a friendship with either of them. So, please Michelle, if you are out there, how was that beer?

Back to the Bard, there is so much to recommend this fantastic play: Jaques (pronounced "Jakes" as in British slang for "toilet"), the melancholic poser; Touchstone, the adorable, bawdy clown; the wonderful impersonation of Rosalind by Ganymede played by Rosalid and the three love stories. More later...

Fino's Reviews of Shakespeare and Shakespearean Criticism
The Comedy of Errors (1592-1593
The Taming of the Shrew (1593-1594)
The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1594-1595)
Love's Labour's Lost (1594-1595)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595-1596)
The Merchant of Venice (1596-1597)
Much Ado About Nothing (1598-1599)
As You Like It (1599-1600)
Twelfth Night (1599-1600)
The Merry Wives of Windsor (1600-1601)
All's Well That Ends Well (1602-1603)
Measure for Measure (1604-1605)
Cymbeline (1609-1610)
A Winter's Tale (1610-1611)
The Tempest (1611-1612)
Two Noble Kinsmen (1612-1613)

Henry VI Part I (1589-1590)
Henry VI Part II (1590-1591)
Henry VI Part III (1590-1591)
Richard III (1593-1594)
Richard II (1595-1596)
King John (1596-1597)
Edward III (1596-1597)
Henry IV Part I (1597-1598)
Henry IV Part II (1597-1598)
Henry V (1598-1599)
Henry VIII (1612-1612)

Titus Andronicus (1592-1593)
Romeo and Juliet (1594-1595)
Julius Caesar (1599-1600)
Hamlet (1600-1601)
Troilus and Cressida (1601-1602)
Othello (1604-1605)
King Lear (1605-1606)
Macbeth (1605-1606)
Anthony and Cleopatra (1606-1607)
Coriolanus (1607-1608)
Timon of Athens (1607-1608)
Pericles (1608-1609)

Shakespearean Criticism
The Wheel of Fire by Wilson Knight
A Natural Perspective by Northrop Frye
Shakespeare After All by Marjorie Garber
Shakespeare's Roman Plays and Their Background by M W MacCallum
Shakespearean Criticism 1919-1935 compiled by Anne Ridler
Shakespearean Tragedy by A.C. Bradley
Shakespeare's Sexual Comedy by Hugh M. Richmond
Shakespeare: The Comedies by R.P. Draper
Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics by Stephen Greenblatt
1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro

Collections of Shakespeare
Venus and Adonis, the Rape of Lucrece and Other Poems
Shakespeare's Sonnets and a Lover's Complaint
The Complete Oxford Shakespeare
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,868 reviews16.5k followers
May 17, 2016
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

Another very enjoyable and entertaining play by The Bard.

“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”

Also another very influential work as it is apparent how many romantic comedies over the years have borrowed liberally from this classic tale.

“Do you not know I am a woman? when I think, I must speak.”

Rosalind is also probably the blueprint of countless strong heroines over the years.

“I would rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad. And to travel for it too!”

Profile Image for Jeanette (Ms. Feisty).
2,179 reviews1,910 followers
February 8, 2011
The fun of Shakespeare's comedies isn't in the plots but in the pure genius of his language. Many of his best lines have become such staples of common usage that most people aren't even aware they're quoting Shakespeare. If they DO know, you can forget about asking them which plays the lines come from.

I find an intensely perverse pleasure in Shakespeare's inventive insults. I can only DREAM of thinking up such clever quips and comebacks in the heat of an argument. And if I could think them up, I wouldn't have the nerve to use them.

As You Like It has some of the best insults of all the Shakespeare I've read so far. Touchstone the Fool gets some of the funniest lines. I'd love to play that part. I know, it's a man's part, but I'd be willing to disguise myself for the pleasure of delivering those lines. I'm six feet tall, so I could probably pull it off with the right costume to hide my womanly curves. Maybe I should start taking steroids to deepen my voice and get ready for my performance. Why not? All the female roles were played by boys back in Shakespeare's day, so why not turn the tables and let me play Touchstone?

Rosalind gets some pretty good lines too, especially when she's disguised as "Ganymede." Maybe I could go for that role. She gets to say "Tis such fools as you/That makes the world full of ill-favored [that means UGLY] children." HA!
And she tells Phoebe: "Sell when you can; you are not for all markets." OUCH!

Or I could be Jaques (pronounced "Jakes" and/or "Jake-wees"). He's got that great "All the world's a stage" speech, and some good insults, too. "...in his brain/Which is as dry as a remainder biscuit after a voyage."
Hmmm...so many roles, so little time. And, well...so little talent... But I can't let that stop me. I'll let you all know when I'm ready for my stage debut.
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
229 reviews47 followers
May 22, 2022
As you like it, I liked you, but not as much as Shakespeare tragedies.

(To be fair, I think a lot of this has to do with the edition of As You Like It I read. While the Folger Library editions are pretty, they have less contextual notes and commentary than the Arden editions, and as a result I felt like I was missing something. I think the Folger Library editions are nice for casual reading, but they don't have the depth I'm looking for in my Shakespeare readings. I think the Arden's are best for study, and the Folger's are great for casual reading.)

I enjoyed this play for it's layered look at gender roles. I loved Rosalind, Celia and Touchstone. I loved Orlando and Shakespeare's commentary on the ridiculousness of writing lovesick sonnets and affixing them to all the trees in a forest.

"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool." -Touchstone
Profile Image for Kelly.
878 reviews4,024 followers
November 2, 2014
I just saw this play for the first time since college, at the Shakespeare Theater here in DC. I've never really known what to say about it, to be honest. I know all the hype surrounding Rosalind, and I agree with it. It's a really excellent part for any actress, and I love that the play is structured entirely around her. The play even offers the rare pretty great supporting part for a woman in Celia. There's Jacques, the odd and amusing duck who doesn't ever quite fit, and a surprisingly large and non-commentary filled part for the clown. But it's always sat kind of oddly with me. The first act and the second act seem to have very little to do with one another in tone or approach. The characters have the light character development of a comedy (both villains use the Don John classic justification for their behavior: "I don't even know why I hate that guy, but I totally do, so I'm going to continue to be a serious, life-ruining dick to him"), but there's some surprisingly serious and violent moments that don't quite sit with that either. There are great individual comedic/love scenes but they're interspersed with Jacques and the clown and who else knows what- it's got such weird pacing. And it often shows in productions.

The one I saw last night was no exception. The director had his actors play the thing ridiculously straight- no subtext whatsoever. It was the first play I've sat through where I wanted to raise my hand and give line readings because I really felt like they left a lot out there on the stage that they didn't do a thing with. I mean, it's one thing to have a different preferred interpretation than the director, but I don't know that he interpreted it at all, really. All the dialogue seemed intended to be perfectly unambiguous, which is a tragic waste of any Shakespeare production. Not even the characters appear to be thinking through their problems, never mind the audience. The Seven Ages of Man speech was declaimed from on high and in such a silently reverent room that people applauded when it was over (and these are people who know better). The best Shakespeare productions I've seen are the ones where another character's perspective is illuminated through a moment of silence and directed gaze, or another path that could have been taken on the way to the conclusion is denied. For example, I've always liked productions that make the choice that the Prince in Much Ado is in love with Beatrice. It's right there in the dialogue, but only in one crucial moment- the rest is carried on in silence and looks and implications. Likewise the idea that Gertrude lets Ophelia drown because she thinks she'd be better off dead- that's why she has such a full report of what she did and didn't save her. I got nothing here, not even a single solitary hint of unrequited lesbian love, despite some fairly obvious and recurring opportunities for that. If he had only put some interpretation on it and given me a thread to follow and theorize about.

But since he didn't occupy my mind, at least it gave me time to think about a few things in the play that I hadn't seen before:
1) Surveillance: I had not realized before seeing this again how much of this play is people telling stories about something that happened off-stage and reporting it to people onstage. People spend a LOT of time listening to other people talk- even leading players. Moreover, even if there is a live-action scene where something is actually happening right in front of them, there's always a character standing off to the side witnessing it. Even if they don't say a word. There are very rarely any private scenes. Backs up the whole interpretation of this thing as a treatise on gender and relationships as performance, whether a voluntary or involuntary one. I think there was maybe one or two scenes where two characters were genuinely alone- and both of them were in the threatening, dark first act.
2) The Otherworld: One thing the play did that I liked was that it used the scene changes for the appearance of a goddess of marriage who also seemed to double as a forest spirit. Unacknowledged, she guided the characters to their next step. The characters taking off and putting on costumes again was spotlighted center stage (which isn't surprising given the theme, but her help was unexpected). I've seen plays at that theater before and they used the lights that they use to signal the appearance of magic or the otherworld again, which was an interesting choice. I wouldn't have connected faerie with this play before. But of course it makes sense- they're in the forest, people are wandering around trying to find each other or escape each other pretty frequently. Why wouldn't there be a Puck helping to arrange this? And sure- divine intervention seems just as good an excuse as anything else as to how these people are getting away with their gender bending/identity screwing and changing magic.
3) The lonely arms of ruling figures: at least in the comedies. Have we noticed this? The guy who is actually the most powerful in terms of status in the play often ends up standing alone on stage amongst the couples at the end. I mean Theseus is the outlier, but he's a conquerer, right? And Oberon is a game player playing chess, not a lover. Those ladies are both coerced or spoils in some fashion. Not super romantic, however much we're going to gloss over that. Too serious to be involved in such plots? I dunno, I just noticed it. They're just standing awkwardly at the end a lot.
4) Taming of the Shrew v. As You Like It: Lots of commentary about what men and women are and are not and battles of the sexes. Lots of discussion about which gender is better are this or that- two completely different tacks, at least on the surface. Two epilogues given to ladies with surprisingly similar message for all that. What are we thinking was going on here?
5) Also, speaking of the structure, why go out of your way like this to make such a Statement that this is a comedy at the end of the show? The whole first half and setup seemed to state otherwise. That shit was not funny. And now all of a sudden hijinx and four weddings? I know it's a problem play, but still, what's up with that?

Next time I see this, I'll be interested to focus more on the Jacques angle, because there's something going on there I need to figure out. But that's all for this round.
Profile Image for Oguz Akturk.
278 reviews458 followers
September 13, 2022
YouTube kanalımda Shakespeare'in hayatı, mutlaka okunması gereken kitapları ve kronolojik okuma sırası hakkında bilgi edinebilirsiniz: https://youtu.be/rGxh2RVjmNU

Nasıl hoşunuza giderse valla ister öyle yazın isterseniz de hiçbir şey yazmayın ama eğer ki koronavirüsten dolayı sokağa çıkma yasağı cuma akşamı açıklandığında bütün ülke Pubg oyunu başlamadanki toplanma alanına dönüyorsa ve Shakespeare de bütün dünyanın bir tiyatro, bizim de oyuncular olduğumuzu düşünüyorsa bence Oğuz Atay'ın Oyunlarla Yaşayanlar kitabında oyunlarla yaşayan insanlar gibi kimimiz tiyatro oyunlarıyla kimimiz bilgisayar oyunlarıyla kimimiz çocuk oyunlarıyla kimimiz Türk halk oyunlarıyla kimimiz bir heykeltraş hocasının öğrencisine oymasını söylediği oyunlarıyla kimimiz sevgili boyunlarıyla kimimiz iktidar koyunlarıyla yaşarken bir Lego oyunu hoşunuza gitmediği sırada artık Limbo ya da Portal 2 oynamanız gerektiğinin farkına varmışsanız ya da bir Tanrı'yla konuşuyorsanız ve günlük hareketlerinizin bol dekorlu bir tiyatro sahnesi içerisinde bulunduğunu düşünüyorsanız bence siz de artık nasıl hoşunuza giderse öyle davranma çağına gelmişsinizdir; yine de her zaman nasıl hoşunuza gitmezse farkındalıkları gerekir ki nasıl hoşunuza giderse bilinç düzeyine erişebilelim ve böylece dünya hayatının eğlence ve oyundan ibaret oluşunu da kişileştirip hoş adlı içimizin yegane jürisine görücü usulüyle götürelim ama yanımıza çikolata değil de belki Shakespeare'in doğayla, büyülü gerçekçilikle ve mistiklikle karışmış pastoral komedyası olan Nasıl Hoşunuza Giderse'yi de alarak.
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,866 reviews370 followers
February 27, 2016
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

I am always charmed when I go to see a Shakespearean play and hear familiar phrases. As You Like It certainly has its share of those.

A cinema chain near me offers showings of the National Theatre (London) on a regular basis and I went this week for my first experience of this play. As expected, I enjoyed it a great deal. The only issue was a slight falter in reception (and regrettably this was during the famous “All the world’s a stage” scene).

It has all the elements that say “Shakespeare” to me—mistaken identities, disguises & cross-dressing, instantaneous loves, and questions of loyalty.

The stage set for the Arden forest was extremely interesting—the forest itself was created from furniture suspended from the ceiling, which I know sounds weird but somehow it worked well. Watching the transformation of the stage to this arrangement prompted intake of breath among the audience. It was amazing to watch as things gradually swept up into place.

Also fabulous was the music and singing, which really enhanced the experience and which I wouldn’t even have realized I was missing, had I merely read the play at home. Truly, the plays are meant to be experienced, rather than simply read and this one was a great pleasure on so many levels.
Profile Image for Paul Haspel.
543 reviews69 followers
April 23, 2022
As you know, William Shakespeare could write pretty much any kind of play his dramatic company might need, and he wrote all sorts of plays exceptionally well. A light, frothy comedy? Check. A grim tragedy that plumbs the depths of the human capacity for suffering? Sure thing. A history play written to capitalize on a politically savvy audience's interest in the leaders of an earlier time? No worries. Therefore, it should be no surprise that, at about the same time at which Shakespeare wrote his immortal tragedy Hamlet, he also wrote one of his most pleasant and unfailingly pleasing comedies, As You Like It. That’s just how it goes, I suppose, when you’re the playwright who can do it all.

Set for the most part in the vaguely French “Forest of Arden,” As You Like It shows Shakespeare mixing stories of nobles and commoners in a way that is characteristic of his comedies. The plotlines are so many, and flow so thick and fast together, that I think numbering them may help. Ergo:

1. Orlando, the younger son of a deceased nobleman, has been robbed of his rightful inheritance by his older brother Oliver – who, for reasons even Oliver himself does not understand, has conceived a bitter hatred for his virtuous younger brother.

2. Another instance of fraternal discord: At the local ducal court, Duke Frederick has taken over the dukedom, and has exiled his older brother, Duke Senior (yes, Duke Senior, “Duke Older” – I am not making this up).

3. In spite of all this family feuding, cousins Rosalind (daughter of the deposed Duke Senior) and Celia (daughter of the usurping Duke Frederick) are truly close, and utterly loyal to one another.

4. And oh, yes: Orlando and Rosalind fall in love at first sight.

By various means, all of these characters make their way to the Forest of Arden – Orlando because his loyal servant Adam has warned him that older brother Oliver’s hatred of Orlando is becoming homicidal; Rosalind and Celia because Duke Frederick has suddenly banished Rosalind from court, and Celia loyally accompanies her beloved cousin into exile. As Viola in Twelfth Night pretended to be a young man named "Cesario," so Rosalind takes on the guise of a young boy called "Ganymede," knowing that two young women traveling alone in the wilderness would not be safe, as “Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold.” And, as in Twelfth Night, Rosalind’s taking of this manlike disguise provides opportunities for some gender-bending comic antics.

In the Forest of Arden, the exiles find that the banished Duke Senior and his retainers “fleet the time carelessly as they did in the golden world.” Duke Senior is philosophical about his banishment, saying, “Sweet are the uses of adversity,” and asserting the joys of the simple, Arcadian life: “And this our life, exempt from public haunt,/Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,/Sermons in stones, and good in everything.” Only “the melancholy Jaques” questions the suitability of the party’s helping themselves to the forest’s resources in order to sustain their pastoral lifestyle.

Jaques is one of the most interesting characters in As You Like It. He is the one who delivers the play’s most famous lines: “All the world’s a stage,/And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances,/And one man in his time plays many parts,/His acts being seven ages.” Jaques’ cynical recounting of the Seven Ages of Man – infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, “pantaloon” (foolish old man), and “second childishness” – is a famous enough passage that a stained-glass window depicting the Seven Ages adorns a wall of the main reading room at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. And Jaques, with his misanthropic musings, makes one wonder if this melancholy man might be speaking for Shakespeare himself.

After all, Shakespeare himself was a writer for the working day; he had to write commercially viable plays if he was to maintain what at times must have seemed a precarious livelihood. No doubt he sometimes had cause to say, as Rosalind says at one point in the play, “O, how full of briers is this working-day world!” Knowing that, as part of the conventions of this sort of comedy, he must provide a wise fool, and must give him all sorts of wise-fool things to say, one can easily imagine Shakespeare looking at a particularly apt bit of wise-fool raillery he has just set down and saying to himself, as Celia says in Act I, “Well said! That was laid on with a trowel.”

And, knowing as Shakespeare did that this kind of comedy, like the romantic-comedy films of today, simply must end happily, I can’t help wondering if Shakespeare might have smiled grimly as he set down these lines of Rosalind’s, in reply to Orlando’s declaration that he is dying of love for Rosalind – “Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love.” Is that sort of cynicism regarding the grandiose declamations of lovers closer to Shakespeare’s actual state of mind than the happy denouement dictated by the stage conventions of the time? It is an interesting possibility.

The “meta” quality of As You Like It is further emphasized by some elements of the play’s resolution. When Hymen, the classical god of marriage, shows up at play's end to sort things out and resolve the plot's many complications, it is a quite literal example of deus ex machina. And if you thought a double wedding was a good way to end a rom-com, check out the quadruple wedding that concludes As You Like It:

1. Orlando and Rosalind (of course);

2. Orlando’s reformed older brother Oliver and Rosalind’s faithful cousin Celia;

3. the love-struck shepherd Silvius and his once-disdainful ladylove Phebe; and

4. the “wise-fool” clown Touchstone with the “country wench” Audrey (“a poor virgin, sir, an ill-favored thing, but mine own”).

Can a rom-com be too all-get-out happy? Shakespeare in As You Like It almost seems to be daring us to say so. “Go ahead. Make thou mine day.”
Profile Image for Cindy Rollins.
Author 22 books2,025 followers
May 7, 2018
This is one of my favorites. It is a hymn to marriage with much poetry, song, and general fun.

I also LOVE Kenneth Branagh's film version-one of my favorite adaptations of all time.

Coming on the heels of Much Ado, you can see that Shakespeare is writing in a time of his life when word play, wit and romance figure greatly.

Of course, the next play is Hamlet-not quite so airy.

UPDATE on AUDIO: Don't listen to the audio if you do not know the play. Because of the girl playing boy parts it is hard to follow the plot if you don't know if the girl is, for instance, Rosalind or Ganymede at any moment.
Profile Image for Brian.
689 reviews332 followers
July 12, 2016
The new RSC Modern Library Editions of the plays are a quality trade paperback edition of the works of Shakespeare.
“As You Like It” in this series contains a short, but insightful Introduction by Jonathan Bate. In it he makes a lovely point that although it reeks of modern influences (taking the play out of context) I had never thought to consider.
This is a Shakespeare play that I did not much care for when I first read it years ago, but I have since become quite fond of. It is one of Shakespeare's mature comedies, written at the height of his prowess around 1599. It also boats the largest female Shakespearean role, Rosalind, and has a supporting cast that is well defined, and compliments the plays themes quite nicely.
"As You like It" contains one of Shakespeare's most famous monologues, the "Seven Ages of Man" speech spoken by the melancholy member of court Jacques. However, it also boats many other moments of pleasure. Act 2:7 is one of the most profound and beautiful scenes in all of Shakespeare, and that is saying something! The highlight of the play is the third act, which is a delight of imagery and witty dialogues throughout. Act 3:2 seems to touch on a bit of everything and is in a word, delightful! The play hits it thematic and comedic stride in this act, and propels the action to its dizzying assortment of marriages in the conclusion.
This text also boats more songs than any other Shakespeare play, and like all of Shakespeare's work it has dark undertones to many of its more rustic elements. Both serve to enhance the text and make it a more enjoyable experience.
Shakespeare's knack for accurate human characterization never ceases to amaze me, and this text boats many wonderful characters that would make an acting company salivate.
I come back to this wonderful work again and again.
This edition includes an essay on the performance history of the piece, and interviews with two prominent directors (Dominic Cooke & Michael Boyd). It will be of special interest to those who enjoy exploring the multitude of interpretations “As You Like It” lends itself to. The Modern Library edition also includes a scene by scene analysis, which can help point out an image or symbol you might have missed. The edition also includes a nice “Further Readings” list specifically for this play.
Frankly, all of the extra essays allow you to dive into the world of the play, and it is all included in one text.
The RSC Modern Library editions are a nice new trade paperback with worthwhile extras. They are a good addition to the editions of Shakespeare out there. These and the Pelican Shakespeare are my two favorites.
Profile Image for David Sarkies.
1,788 reviews308 followers
October 4, 2017
A pastoral comedy with shades of Robin Hood
24 December 2014

Back when I first read this play for university English I didn't think all that much of it because I had simply thrown it in with that collection of boring Shakespearian plays called 'The Comedy's' (not that I found all of the comedy's boring, just most of them because there were, in my opinion, simply romantic comedy's which me, as a young adult male, really didn't appreciate). However, it wasn't until later when the theatre group that a couple of my friend's were members of decided to put on a production of this play that my opinion of it changed (as well as coming to understand what my English lecturer was saying about it).

In a way it seems that Shakespeare has taken a number of older poems (including a poem by Thomas Lodge called Rosalynde) and created what can be considered a pastoral play. The idea of the pastoral in Shakespeare's day is an idyllic country setting where the inhabitants live in peace and prosperity without the rigours of the daily city life of the political machinations that large groups of people inevitably create. In a way it is very much like our ideal of living in a country cottage with a white picket fence. It is the ideal lifestyle where one not only lives off the land, but lives a peaceful life in beautiful surroundings.

This is illustrated in this play with the opening scene in the court of the local duke, who has just usurped the previous ruler (Duke Senior) and sent him into exile. The rest of the play is set in the mystical forest of Arden. There has been some debate as to were this forest is located, either being a forest near where Shakespeare's family lived, or whether he means the Ardennes in France. However I suspect that the forest of Arden is a picture of the pastoral world where one escapes the political machinations of the royal court, as is the case here. Duke Senior, upon being usurped from his throne, flees to the forest where, in a way, his authority is restored.

As You Like it �� Forest of Arden

The interesting thing that I have noticed is the similarities between Robin Hood and Duke Senoir. While the story of Robin Hood seems to change depending on which version you are reading, there is some similarities in that Robin Hood appears to have been a noble that had been dispossessed of his lands and he lived in a forest with his allies. Shakespeare even makes a direct connection between Duke Senior and Robin Hood within the play itself. However, the difference between this play and Robin Hood is that the Duke Senior plotline is actually more of a minor plot than the major plot, which involves Rosalind and her interaction with Orlando (though as Shakespeare is prone to do, he does weave these plots together quite seamlessly).

The idea of gender was discussed heavily in my English subject namely because you see a single character playing multiple, and concurrent, gender roles. For instance, at one stage, Rosalind has four different gender identities – namely a boy would be playing Rosalind's character (because women were not allowed to act on stage at the time) who then pretends to be a boy as she flees from the Duke, and when she is in the forest, she then, as the boy in disguise, pretends to play herself (therefore we have a boy playing a girl, playing a boy, who in turn is playing a girl). However, unlike my university lecturer, I do not necessarily see Shakespeare exploring the role of gender but rather using the number of layers that is overlaid to create a very interesting scene.

As with most of Shakespeare's romantic comedies, the comedy mostly revolves around the idea of courtship, where one party is trying to persuade the other party to marry them. However, there seems to be this idea of curing Orlando of the sickness of 'being in love'. I'm not sure if you can call it a sickness per se, however having been a teenager (and even a young adult) I can understand how 'being in love' can affect somebody, such us sitting down thinking of one's beloved and not being able to do anything else (which is the case with Orlando because he seems to spend his time carving love poems into the trees).

The other interesting thing about this play is that I believe it is the play which has the most number of people getting married at the end (I believe there are four couples all getting married at once), and we even have the appearance of Hymen, the Roman God of marriage, to preside over the ceremony. However I note that the ceremony does not take place on stage, but off, probably because what we are seeing is in effect a pastoral wedding – one that is not held in a church but rather outside in a forest - and with the appearance of Hymen, suggests that maybe this is looking back at a more idealistic (and possibly pre-Christian) age where the rigours and struggles of the modern world have been left behind.

As You Like It pastoral painting

I've actually seen this play twice (and really want to see it again). I have written blog posts on the play here and here.
Profile Image for Miranda Cadena.
184 reviews95 followers
April 14, 2023
NEW FAVORITE SHAKESPEARE PLAY FR. Ended every fake dating romance. It’s poetic, fun, absurd. Rosalind slayed. So real of her to make boys and girls fall in love with her, either as a man or a woman. Orlando was also a nice love interest ?? I don’t care for most straight romances in classics, but I enjoyed their dynamic. Find me a man who flirts with a man who pretends to be me but it’s actually me dressed as man who pretends to be me.

Jacques is literally me fr, also.
Profile Image for Roy Lotz.
Author 1 book8,181 followers
February 11, 2019
As You Like It is unquestionably my favorite of Shakespeare’s comedies. This is mostly due to the love story being, for once, rather enjoyable. In the majority of Shakespeare’s works I find the romantic relationships to be, at best, an easy engine to move the plot along, or a ready vehicle for the poet’s sallies. Seldom do I find myself in sympathy with the lover or the beloved, mostly because Shakespeare’s most lovable or fascinating characters—King Lear, Iago, Hamlet, Falstaff—are usually not of the amorous sort.

But Rosalind is a great exception, for she is both fascinating and lovable. It is very easy for me to sympathize with Orlando’s passion; and though Orlando is no match for Rosalind in wit or wisdom, he is brave, kind, and loyal. As in any Shakespeare play, the lovers expend their great verbal acuity upon one another; though here, for once, the barbs are purely benign, the relationship free of secret malice. For Rosalind and Orlando, raillery becomes a way of showing affection and of keeping attraction alive; and theatricality is not use to deceive or to ensnare, but to enchant.

Shakespeare set his play in the fictitious forest of Arden, thus suggesting a kind of pastoral romance. But the mood of the play is subtly anti-pastoral. Silvius, the poor love-sick shepherd, represents the original pastoral tradition of pinning lovers in an original Eden; thus he speaks exclusively in nauseating verse. Rosalind, by contrast, expresses herself in prose; and her love is never pinning or pathetic, but playful. I would say that ‘play’ characterizes her whole attitude towards life. She does not, like Silvius, fall victim to her emotions; nor does she, like Jacques, cynically deny her feeling. Instead, she indulges in her feelings while staying one step ahead of them, turning every genuine drama into a game. In the process she gives us a model for how to be madly in love without being maddeningly dull.

What else need be said? The plot is absurd and flimsy, of course. Jacques and Touchstone are excellent counterpoises to Rosalind, though neither half so delightful. The music and the natural setting help to make the play itself, like the forest of Arden, a space of escape and delight—a transitional space, where the norms of society are inverted or suspended, and from which we return refreshed and subtly transformed. At the very least, it is impossible for me to watch this play and remain in a sour mood.
Profile Image for clara [inactive account].
118 reviews44 followers
February 28, 2021
ayyy, shakespeare, baby! would you look at me, actually following up on my reading goals for the year!

yeah. well. about that.

perhaps some of you remember my epic great shakespeare tbr thingy-mabob i came up with at the beginning of the year. a good 2 months later, no progress has been made- until... this.

what is this? is it really? me, actually doing what i said i would do???

heh, yeah no. i didn't read this by choice.
i'm acting in it. i literally had no choice.

yeah, impressive, huh? however, i didn't regret it, no, it was pretty quality. it is full of weirdness at points, like, there's literally this guy named sir oliver mar-text like shakespeare u did this for what-

the best character, though, is jaques, my dear emotional boi who i love dearly. ❤️i mean, he gives the "all the world's a stage speech" and literally in the end, when everyone else is happily-ever-after and everything is perfect, jaques is like "ight imma head out" and skrt skrts off to be a monk.

i mean, we love to see that angst.

some quality quotes...

"the fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool..."

"what care i for words? yet words do well when he that speaks them pleases those who hear."

"all the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely actors. they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts."

"hereafter, in a better world than this, i shall desire more love and knowledge of you."

"i like this place, and willingly could waste my time in it."

tl;dr: DISCLAIMER: i did not read this because i felt up to the challenge. it was ✨thrust upon me.✨
however, i did not regret it.
Profile Image for فؤاد.
1,058 reviews1,725 followers
August 27, 2016
نمايش به اندازه ى باقى كمدى ها، طنز نبود، اما روايت بسيار شيرينى از عشق بود، و باز مثل "رؤیای یک نیمه شب تابستان" و "کمدی اشتباهات"، از جا به جايى شخصيت ها استفاده شده بود، هر چند به شكلى تازه و جالب.

خلاصه نمایش برای یادآوری شخصی

Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,630 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.