As You Like It
• a pastoral comedy by William
Shakespeare believed to have
been written in 1599 or early
• It remains a favorite among
audiences and has been adapted
for radio, film, and musical
As You Like It
• It was most likely written around
1598–1600, during the last years
of Elizabeth’s reign.
• It was first printed in the
collected edition of Shakespeare's
plays, known as the First Folio,
• William Shakespeare NEVER published any of his plays and
therefore none of the original manuscripts have survived.
Eighteen unauthorized versions of his plays were, however,
published during his lifetime in quarto editions by
unscrupulous publishers (there were no copyright
laws protecting Shakespeare and his works during the
Elizabethan era). A collection of his works did not appear until
1623 ( a full seven years after Shakespeare's death on April
23, 1616) when two of his fellow actors, John Hemminges
and Henry Condell, posthumously recorded his work and
published 36 of William’s plays in the First Folio.
Date First Performed
• It is believed that As You Like It was first
performed between 1599 and 1600. In the
Elizabethan Era there was a huge demand for
new entertainment and As You Like It would
have been produced immediately following
the completion of the play.
Number of Words in As You
• The number of words in the script,
according to the Complete Public
Domain Text is 22,960.
"All the world 's a stage,
and all the men
and women merely
They have their exits and
"True is it that we
have seen better
(Act II, Scene VII).
"The fool doth think he is
wise, but the wise man
knows himself to be a
(Act V, Scene II)
"Can one desire too
of a good thing?”
(Act IV, Scene I)
Summary of the Story
• As You Like It is considered by many to be one of
Shakespeare's greatest comedies, and the heroine,
Rosalind, is praised as one of his most inspiring characters
and has more lines than any of Shakespeare's
female characters. Rosalind, the daughter of a banished
duke falls in love with Orlando the disinherited son of one
of the duke's friends. When she is banished from the court
by her usurping uncle, Duke Frederick , Rosalind switches
genders and as Ganymede travels with her loyal cousin Celia
and the jester Touchstone to the Forest of Arden, where her
father and his friends live in exile.
Summary of the Story
• Observations on life and love follow (including love,
aging, the natural world, and death) friends are made,
and families are reunited. By the play's end Ganymede,
once again Rosalind, marries her Orlando. Two other
sets of lovers are also wed, one of them Celia and
Orlando's mean older brother Oliver . As Oliver
becomes a gentler, kinder young man so the Duke
conveniently changes his ways and turns to religion and
so that the exiled Duke, father of Rosalind, can rule
The Setting for As You Like Itc
• The setting for As You Like It is unclear –
either Arden in England or Ardennes in
Rosalind - The daughter of Duke Senior. Rosalind,
considered one of Shakespeare’s most delightful
heroines, is independent minded, strong-willed,
good-hearted, and terribly clever. Rather than slink
off into defeated exile, Rosalind resourcefully uses
her trip to the Forest of Ardenne as an opportunity
to take control of her own destiny. When she
disguises herself as Ganymede—a handsome young
man—and offers herself as a tutor.
Orlando - The youngest son of Sir Rowland de Bois
and younger brother of Oliver. Orlando is an
attractive young man who has languished without a
gentleman’s education or training. Orlando cares
for the aging Adam in the Forest of Ardenne and
later risks his life to save Oliver from a hungry
lioness, proving himself a proper gentleman. He is
the most obvious romantic match for Rosalind.
Duke Senior - The father of Rosalind and the
rightful ruler of the dukedom in which the play is
set. Having been banished by his usurping brother,
Frederick, Duke Senior now lives in exile in the
Forest of Ardenne with a number of loyal men,
including Lord Amiens and Jaques. Content in the
forest, where he claims to learn as much from
stones and brooks as he would in a church or
Celia - The daughter of Duke Frederick and
Rosalind’s dearest friend. Celia’s devotion to
Rosalind is unmatched, as evidenced by her
decision to follow her cousin into exile. To make
the trip, Celia assumes the disguise of a simple
shepherdess and calls herself Aliena. As elucidated
by her extreme love of Rosalind and her immediate
devotion to Oliver, whom she marries at the end of
Duke Frederick - The brother of Duke Senior and
usurper of his throne. Duke Frederick’s cruel nature
and volatile temper are displayed when he
banishes his niece, Rosalind, from court without
reason. That Celia, his own daughter, cannot
mitigate his unfounded anger demonstrates the
intensity of the duke’s hatefulness.
• Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas
explored in a literary work.
The Delights of Love
• As You Like It spoofs many of the conventions of poetry
and literature dealing with love, such as the idea that
love is a disease that brings suffering and torment to the
lover, or the assumption that the male lover is the slave
or servant of his mistress. These ideas are central
features of the courtly love tradition, which greatly
influenced European literature for hundreds of years
before Shakespeare’s time.
The Malleability of the Human Experience
• Jaques philosophizes on the stages of human life: man
passes from infancy into boyhood; becomes a lover, a
soldier, and a wise civic leader; and then, year by
year, becomes a bit more foolish until he is returned to
his “second childishness and mere oblivion”
Urban Life Versus Rural Life
• Pastoral literature thrives on the contrast between life in
the city and life in the country. Often, it suggests that the
oppressions of the city can be remedied by a trip into the
country’s therapeutic woods and fields, and that a
person’s sense of balance and rightness can be restored by
conversations with uncorrupted shepherds and
shepherdesses. This type of restoration, in turn, enables
one to return to the city a better person, capable of
making the most of urban life.
• Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors
used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
• The poems that Orlando nails to the trees of
Ardenne are a testament to his love for Rosalind.
The Slain Deer
• Jaques and other lords in Duke Senior’s party kill a
deer. Jaques proposes to “set the deer’s horns upon
[the hunter’s] head for a branch of victory”. To an
Elizabethan audience, however, the slain deer would
have signaled more than just an accomplished
• Rosalind’s choice of alternative identities is
significant. Ganymede is a standard symbol of
•He is born on 23 April 1564.
•And died on 23 April 1616.
•He was an English poet and playwright, widely
regarded as the greatest writer in the English
language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.
•He is often called England's National Poet.
-it can be said that Shakespeare uses this title in a spirit
-the title suggests not merely the theme of the play but
also the attitude towards the play.
-The title was particularly suited to the do-as-you please
atmosphere of the Forest of Arden, a place where
different kinds of persons go about happily seeking their
own different kinds of satisfaction.
- As You Like It is based on traditional pastoral
romance, a very popular literary form in the
-The pastoral celebrated the virtues of a simple life lived
close to nature, and idealized romantic love.
-Shakespeare tries to please his audiences with their
likes in certain make up of the plot.
William Shakespeare's Main Source
• All characters and plot are purely
fictitious but information was drawn
from Rosalynde by Thomas Lodge (15571625)
Compared to Other Text
-Alike the dreamland in A Midsummer Night’s Dream,
Arden in As You Like It is saturated by love and love
-Both plays employ the use of disguises for the initial
purpose of deceit.
-literary luminaries such as Ben Jonson
hailed his work as timeless and universal.
•Scholars have long disagreed about the merits
of the play. Critics from Samuel
Johnson and George Bernard Shaw have
complained that As You Like It is lacking in the
high artistry of which Shakespeare was capable.
•Tolstoy objected to the immorality of the
•Other critics have found great literary value in
•Harold Bloom has written that Rosalind is
among Shakespeare's greatest and most fully
realized female characters.
•The elaborate gender reversals in the story are
of particular interest to modern critics interested
in gender studies.
•“As You Like It is a light-hearted comedy which
appeals to the readers at all stages and all in
lighter moods. It pleases some by its idyllic
romance, others by its optimistic philosophy of
simple goodness, and yet others by its cynical
ironies. Indeed you can take this as you like it.”
-can be related to New Historicism
•The era when Shakespeare was
•Before the age of Elizabethan
drama, plays were mainly based
on religious themes. However,
people demanded, Elizabethan
dramas were based on secular
Elizabethan Drama refers to the plays which were
produced during the reign of queen Elizabeth in
•The opening of several good sized play houses was
responsible for this increased patronage . the largest
and most famous of which was the Globe Theatre
(1599), home to many of Shakespeare's work.
•The most popular types of Elizabethan plays were
histories of England’s rulers..
Rosalind is one of the most powerful of all the
women characters encountered in any of the
Shakespearian comedies. In terms of her personality
and wit, she seems to be unmatched. One of the
reasons she is able to express herself so fully is that
she remains disguised as a male for a long portion of
“As You Like It“.