A-Z Shakespeare: As You Like It

“Sweet are the uses of adversity
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.”
 

William Shakespeare

Awesomeness: 7/10

Because…it’s a pretty little fairytale with a cheerful, witty ending.

Colour: Green

Date: c.1600

Events: Rosalind, daughter of banished Duke Senior, is herself banished from the court of Duke Frederick, and takes Celia, Frederick’s daughter and her best friend, together with fool Touchstone, to live in the woods near her father. To deter attackers, she disguises herself as a man. Meanwhile, Orlando, younger brother of the despotic Oliver, runs away to the same woods, having convinced himself that he is in love with Rosalind. The disguised Rosalind encourages him to pretend to woo her (for reasons which are unclear), while fending off the misplaced affections of a shepherdess, Phoebe. Oliver turns up in the woods, falls in love with Celia, repents his despoticness. Everyone gets married happily, The End.

First line: “As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion bequeathed me by will but poor a thousand crowns, and, as thou sayst, charged my brother on his blessing to breed me well – and there begins my sadness.”

Genre: Comedy

High point: A long and amusing scene between a lovestruck Orlando and a disguised Rosalind.

Interesting fact: The play wasn’t printed until 23 years after it was written.

Joke: “He uses his folly like a stalking-horse, and under the presentation of that he shoots his wit.”

Killed: No-one. Phew.

Laughed at: All of them, really, but Touchstone and Audrey are most hilarious.

Musical: Yes. Lots of hey-nonny-nonny woodland singing. Such larks.

Number of scenes: 23 spread over five acts.

Obscurity: 4/10

Place: The Ardennes forest on the French border.

Quote: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”

Role I’d play: Rosalind.

Stolen from: Thomas Lodge’s prose romance Rosalynde.

Time: Around Shakespeare’s.

Unapologetically…bucolic.

Voiced in my head by: Christopher Lee as Duke Frederick.

Would I see it in a theatre? Why not?

X: The Tenth Line: “For my part, he keeps me rustically at home – or, to speak more properly, stays me here at home unkept; for call you that keeping for a gentleman of my birth, that differs not from the stalling of an ox?”

“Yes? Hello? What?” (The Snappy Quip): “Your gentleness shall force more than your force move us to gentleness.”

Z: The Last Line: “And I am sure, as many as have good beards, or good faces, or sweet breaths will for my kind offer, when I make curtsy, bid me farewell.”

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