Explanatory notes for Act 4, Scene 3
From As You Like It. Ed. Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1922.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
Vengeance upon the scornful Phebe is planned and some sympathy given to poor Silvius. Another character arrives in the
forest, which is gradually drawing them all within its borders, and another love affair is hinted at.
Line 4. Where does Celia stop a moment in this line to give an unexpected turn?
6. Look ... here: This sounds almost like the modern girl.
9. waspish: How clearly does Shakespeare picture Phebe
to us by this word!
11. tenor: meaning.
13. startle: be startled.
14. swaggerer: bully.
17. phoenix: a fabulous bird said to live, one at a time, 500 years, a new one rising from the ashes of the old. 'Od's...will: Rosalind certainly enjoys her masculine privilege. She is
sorry for Silvius and takes this way to conceal from him the
contents of the letter.
26. freestone-colored: a dirty brownish color.
27. huswife's hand: the hand of a hard-working woman.
34. giant-rude: outrageously rude.
36. Ethiope: black. Used as an adjective here.
39. She Phebes me: As Phebe had practiced her cruelty on
Silvius, so now, — Rosalind says, she even practices it on her, i.e. on Ganymede. Accent me.
44. laid apart: laid aside.
48. vengeance: An unusual meaning of vengeance, apparently equivalent to harm or injury.
60. eyne: eyes.
63. aspect: perhaps used as if comparing eyes to stars.
68. seal ... mind: send a sealed letter by him.
69. kind: nature.
70. tame snake: expression of scorn.
75. Why fair ones?
76. purlieus: borders.
78. bottom: valley.
79. rank of osiers: row of willows.
85. What is the purpose of this description?
86. favor: appearance.
87. ripe: older.
93. napkin: handkerchief. Do not fail to notice the expressions on the faces of the two girls when they see the napkin.
101. Of whom was Orlando thinking?
104. Here begins a bit of vivid description.
122. render: describe.
129. just occasion: just opportunity for revenge.
131. hurtling: crashing noise.
140. recountments: narrations.
169. Almost a betrayal here.
166. sirrah: here used as an expletive. body: person.
178. Rosalind: Note that Oliver addresses Rosalind by her real name and not by her assumed name of Ganymede. Is he suspicious or is it natural?
1. Why does Rosalind attempt to deceive Silvius? Do you
think she does?
2. Contrast the attitude of Celia and Rosalind towards this
love-sick shepherd. How do you explain it?
3. Are you surprised to see Oliver? Why not? How does
4. Why does he address himself to Celia and why does she
answer his questions?
5. Has he ever seen the girls at court?
6. Why does Shakespeare have Oliver tell the story of his
danger rather than have it acted on the stage?
7. Does Rosalind really faint? Defend your answer.
8. Comment upon Oliver's sudden conversion.
9. Does he suspect anything?
10. As the fourth act ends why do we wait rather breathlessly
for the last act?
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_4_3.html >.