Explanatory notes for Act 3, Scene 2
From As You Like It. Ed. Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1922.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
This scene, the longest in the play, gives us a love-sick Orlando writing sonnets to his love — not so impossible an accomplishment even now. Touchstone and Jaques find their respective entertainment and Rosalind finds that her lover is in the
forest to be played with as she will.
Line 1. What action here?
2. thrice-crowned queen of night: One of the many proofs
that Shakespeare knew his Ovid and Virgil. The epithets triceps, three-headed, and triformis, having three forms, were applied by both poets to Luna, the goddess of the moon, who was worshiped as Diana on earth and as Proserpina in Hades.
3. chaste: pure eye.
4. Diana was the goddess of chastity and Orlando pictures Rosalind as one of her devotees.
5. Are we reminded of Duke Senior?
6. character: write.
10. unexpressive: beyond description. In this curious usage
the pronouns he and she are treated like nouns, meaning man
and woman. Thus they have no objective case-form and form a plural in s.
16. naught: bad.
16. private: solitary.
21. Touchstone is now the man of the world which was his
pose when he first met Corin. You will notice that Corin is
very much of a philosopher, perhaps more of one than Touchstone realizes.
28. of good breeding: of lack of good breeding.
30. a natural philosopher: Consider the various meanings of
natural, as in this play, I, i, 135; I, 2, 46.
41. parlous: perilous.
46. you salute ... hands: you do not salute without kissing your hands.
51. fells: fleeces.
52. a mutton: a sheep.
64. perpend: weigh carefully in the mind.
69. God ... raw: Raw means ignorant, simple, or as we
might say, green. The expression make incision has reference
to the ancient practice of blood-letting as a remedy for disease.
73. content ... harm: content when in sorrow.
77. Make all lines in the stanza rhyme with lined and see
how it adds to the whimsical expression of Rosalind's face.
81. lined: drawn.
82. black to: black as compared to.
83. fair: beauty.
87. butter women's ... market: the jog-trot of women in
a row, one after another.
88. Why is Rosalind irritated?
89. Touchstone, posing as a critic, carries on the metaphor of his
90. infect: pollute.
** [The editors have removed the suggestive passage "Must find love's prick and Rosalind" and thus have changed the line extensively in this scene.]
93. graff: As the dictionaries will show you, graff is the original form of the word while graft is the derived form. In Act IV, of "Macbeth," we find Malcolm using the word as follows: "It is myself I mean: in whom I know all the particulars of
vice so grafted."
94. then ... fruit: If the medlar was a late or backward
fruit in its ripening to what quality in Touchstone must Rosalind's mischievous teasing have reference? The entire tilt between the two is amusing. Note how quickly Touchstone changes to the fool when Rosalind and Celia appear.
101. Upon what are the verses written?
102. for: because.
104. civil sayings: sayings of civilized life.
106. erring: wandering.
108. buckles in: includes.
115. quintessence: Besides the four elements of fire, earth, air, and water, the early alchemists believed that there was a
fifth essence, which was the highest. This, then, means the concentrated virtue of the spirit.
116. in little: in miniature.
121. Helen: wife of Menelaus, taken by Paris of Troy because of her beauty. This caused the Trojan War.
122. Cleopatra: the queen of Egypt who fascinated Antony
and caused his downfall. Shakespeare makes her the heroine of
"Antony and Cleopatra."
123. Atlanta: a beautiful Greek heroine, noted for her grace
and fleetness. What is, then, the better part to which Orlando
124. Lucretia: a beautiful Roman lady dishonored by Tarquin. She is the heroine of Shakespeare's poem, "The Rape
126. synod: council of the gods.
128. touches: features.
131. Rosalind puts on a delicious air of boredom, but watch
137. scrip: a wallet. Touchstone coins scrippage. Do they
wish to go?
139. Shakespeare does this charming dialogue with so much more insight than does Lodge. In the novel the two girls find
the love songs at the same time, but Shakespeare makes the scene more humorous by having Celia follow Rosalind, which
naturally leads to the teasing of the one and the elaborate pretense of the other. Orlando's entrance is the climax for which
we have been waiting for some time.
141. feet: Note the lively play of words in the next few
149. Rosalind waxes extravagant.
150. a palm tree: an amazing forest indeed.
161. Pythagoras: a Greek philosopher who is said to have
originated the doctrine of transmigration of souls.
152. Irish rat: This refers to a superstition that rats could be driven from a house by ceremonies, such as were used in driving
out evil spirits. The ceremony was conducted by a duly qualified exorcist, who chanted or hung up about the house rhymed
verses bidding the rats depart under threatened pains and penalties. Evidently Shakespeare's contemporaries were much
amused by the stories brought from Ireland of ancient belief in magic.
163. trow you: know you.
158. Celia distorts the old proverb: Friends may meet, but
mountains never greet, the sense of which yields itself to a little
thinking. She hints that a meeting is about to occur which had
seemed as unlikely as the encounter of two mountains.
166. out of all hooping: beyond the power of all hooping.
168. Picture Rosalind's action here.
169. caparisoned: Rosalind is again exaggerating.
170. One inch ... discovery: If you delay further, I will
drown you with questions.
179. A hint as to his youth?
181. stay: wait for.
185. speak ... maid: speak seriously if you are a true maid.
190. What action here? Note the excitement suggested by
the quick, short questions.
196. Gargantua: a giant in Rabelais who swallowed five pilgrims at a mouthful. Shakespeare got his information in a
chapbook of the time.
203. atomies: atoms.
207. Jove's tree: that is the oak which was sacred to Jupiter.
215. holla: stop.
218. burden: low accompaniment.
222. bring me out: put me out. Celia is an expert tease and
knows how to keep Rosalind in suspense.
232. moe: more. Why is Jaques interested in Orlando?
Orlando's retorts are as good as those of his impertinent questioner. Note that Rosalind has a chance to listen and make
sure of Orlando's love.
242. conned ... rings: studied the motto or posy inside the ring. Compare the last scene of "The Merchant of Venice,"
a paltry ring ... whose posy was 'Love me, and leave me not.'
244. painted cloth: This is an allusion to old tapestries having all sorts of figures and pictures upon them.
250. With what a fine dignity does Orlando say this line to
Jaques, the mocker.
262. Imagine the satirical bows which they exchange.
272. Note how quickly Rosalind reaches the subject of love.
284. sen'night: a week.
301. She has caught his interest.
305. cony: rabbit.
309. old ... uncle: Rosalind displays a lively imagination,
does she not? By religious she means educated.
311. one ... well: That is, one who has had much experience in courts.
325. Odes and elegies are different kinds of poems used here
by Rosalind without much thought.
327. fancy-monger: love-dealer.
328. quotidian: a daily attack of chills and fever, supposed
to be a symptom of love.
336. blue eye: sunken with blue circles.
337. Unquestionable: silent.
339. your having: your possession.
344. point-device: exact.
361. An accurate description of the treatment of the insane
which continued until a comparatively short time ago.
368. moonish: changeable.
391. What has Celia been doing all this time? Is she bored?
1. How long have the lovers been in Arden?
2. What do you think of Orlando's verse? Did he differ
from any other lover of his time? What person has already
answered this question?
3. Contrast the courtesy and philosophy of Corin and Touchstone.
4. Describe all the qualities which Orlando finds in his Rosalind.
5. What action makes the dialogue between Rosalind and Celia amusing and even dramatic?
6. At what point in the scene is Rosalind made happy?
7. Do you think Orlando recognizes Rosalind? Defend
8. Why does Rosalind's wit sparkle more in this scene?
9. At what point in the dialogue with Rosalind does Orlando
become serious? Why?
10. Is Rosalind satisfied at the end of the scene?
11. What point in the plot has been reached in this scene?
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. As You Like It. Eds. Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1922. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/asu_3_2.html >.