Shakespeare Explained: Quick Questions on As You Like It
ACT I — SCENE I
1. Why do people find Orlando attractive?
Because he is young, brave, sweet tempered, and ill treated.
2. Are you interested in Rosalind and Celia?
What Charles says of them in Scene i, lines 112-118 interests an audience at
once. The naturalness of their conversation in Scene ii adds to that interest.
3. What points in Rosalind's character are brought out in Scene iii?
Her ready wit in the first 42 lines; her
brave, calm, womanly dignity in the next
80 lines; and her youthful high spirits
in the last 25 lines.
4. What purpose does Scene i serve?
It shows the banished Duke; develops his
character; rouses interest in him and his
5. Why is the last part of this act (beginning
with Scene iv) so broken up?
The audience must see the fugitives on
their way to the Forest of Arden and
must also see the life to which they are
going. In order to do this the short
scenes were necessary.
6. What are your first impressions of Jaques?
Perhaps you find this strange man interesting; perhaps he repels you. To many
who know him well he is a delight. They
find his egotism, his melancholy, his bored
attitude toward everything, his satire, delightful.
7. Practically everybody knows one of the
speeches in Scene vii. Find it.
Lines 139-166 [All the world's a stage...].
8. Why does it make such an impression?
Because of the poetic way in which the
truthful observation is presented.
9. Pick out the things you particularly like in
The passages chosen will be determined
by the clearness with which the action is
visualized. The action here must be seen.
10. Do you think it reasonable that Orlando
should not recognize Rosalind?
Yes. He has been in her company but
for a few moments; he has left her safe
in her uncle's home; he has no reason to
suspect her banishment.
11. What are the differences between Audrey,
Phoebe, Silvius and Rosalind and Celia?
Audrey, Phoebe, and Silvius are unlettered country people while Rosalind and
Celia are from the Court, and have the refinement that Court-life would give.
12. How has Shakespeare made these differences
By the way in which they speak; the
country folk are blunt and outspoken.
Rosalind and Celia conceal their real
thoughts and feelings, only giving the
audience hints. The differences are more
clearly marked when the characters are
seen on the stage, by costume and actions.
13. Does this first scene seem natural?
[Answers will vary.]
14. In what spirit should it be played?
If the spirit of fun and make-believe which
Rosalind and Orlando have adopted is accepted by the reader this scene seems
15. Would Orlando's rescue of his brother have
been more interesting had it been shown on
No. Such a scene could not be staged.
Snakes and lions could not play the
parts; imitations would be laughable.
Ghastly, revolting scenes are generally
given in the form of narrations.
16. Does Oliver guess Rosalind's sex when she
Some critics think he does, others think
he does not. See Act V, Scene ii, lines
17. Why doesn't Rosalind reveal her identity to
her father sooner?
Because she has been too much interested
in her own affairs.
18. Are you prepared for the conversion of Duke
19. Does it seem more or less reasonable than
the reformation of Oliver?
It seems less reasonable.
20. Is the final decision of Jaques to remain in
the forest appropriate to his character?
He has seen the world and cares no
more for it; he delights in idle speculation and thought, yet his thought leads to
nothing. He is an excellent example of
"an utterly useless yet perfectly harmless man." One critic says, "Jaques has
too much prudence to leave his retirement."
22. In the epilogue why does Rosalind say, "If
I were a woman . . . "?
Because the part of Rosalind was played
by a boy. All female parts were played
by boys until the Restoration; women did
not appear on the stage until 1660.
23. What makes this one of the most popular
of Shakespeare's plays?
Because of the delightful characters; the
fresh, sprightly dialogue; the natural
and pleasant story.
How to cite this article:
Lunt, Forrest. Shakespeare Explained. New York: Hearst's International Library, 1915. Shakespeare Online. 10 Jan. 2011. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/asu/sceneq.html >.