Explanatory notes for Act 5, 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 is a preparatory scene for the denouement in Scene 4. Another sudden love affair does not surprise us, as we expect it
Line 4. persÚver: always spelled and accented like this in Shakespeare's time.
5. Perhaps the suddenness of this love-making may be the explanation of Oliver's conversion.
8. Why should the older brother ask the younger's consent?
11. What about the claims of the other brother?
17. Why brother and sister here?
20. heart: Does Rosalind use the word purposely?
27. greater wonders: Does Orlando suggest that Oliver has
told him of his suspicions as to the identity of this Ganymede?
Rosalind certainly seizes the reins of the conversation quickly.
30. thrasonical: boastful. I ... overcame: a translation of
Caesar's famous message after the defeat of Pharnaces at Zela.
The message in Latin is familiar: "Veni, vidi, vici," and Shakespeare seems fond of it, for he has used it more than once. In
fact Julius Caesar is evidently one of his favorite characters.
37. incontinent: immediately.
38. clubs: "In any public affray the cry was Clubs! Clubs! by way of calling for persons with clubs to part the combatants."
Our policemen still carry clubs, sometimes called billies.
51. conceit: intelligence.
53. insomuch: since.
56. grace me: gain me credit.
59. damnable: not to be condemned to the punishment
which was then dealt to those practicing magic.
60. gesture: bearing.
63. inconvenient: disagreeable.
67. tender dearly: hold dear. Of course, she means that
she was risking her life by calling herself a magician.
Enter Silvius and Phebe. With the entrance of the lovers,
verse begins again.
72. ungentleness: unkindness.
89. fantasy: imagination. A beautiful description of love.
93. The repetition of observance suggests that it got into the
folio texts by some oversight. Numerous other readings for
the word have been suggested of which obedience seems as good
103. howling ... moon: There were wolves in Ireland long
after they disappeared from England. Everything Irish interested the English of Shakespeare's time. The scene ends with
gratifying anticipation on the part of everyone including the audience.
1. Is there anything here that seems unreal?
2. Explain Oliver's humble mood.
3. How much has Celia told Oliver? Discuss the possibility.
4. Does Orlando know his Rosalind now? Discuss the
5. Is there any difference between the Rosalind alone with
Orlando and the one with Celia present?
6. Does she show any tenderness?
7. Picture the scene when Silvius describes love.
8. How is it saved from absurdity?
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_5_2.html >.