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As You Like It | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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As You Like It | Act 2, Scene 6 | Summary



Orlando and Adam enter the forest, where Adam bemoans that he can go no farther and that he will die of hunger. "Here lie I down and measure out my grave," he says. Orlando cajoles him to cheer up, then says that he will go to hunt for some wild animal to eat: "I will either be food for it or bring it for food to thee." He jests that "if I bring thee not something to eat, I will give thee leave to die," but that if Adam dies before he returns his efforts will be for naught. Orlando then lifts up Adam to carry him to some kind of shelter where he will be warm and bids him again to cheer up.


Despite his previous claims of strength and stamina, Adam proves himself human. His hyperbole ("Here lie I down and measure out my grave") is more amusing than serious, but it's clear that the poor old man needs sustenance to keep going. Now it is Orlando's turn to support, encourage, and serve his aged servant, just as Adam supported, encouraged, and promised to serve Orlando at the beginning of the journey. Here Orlando shows that he returns Adam's love and loyalty, two of the major themes of the play, as he promises to bring back food or die trying. He adds a tweak of humor by teasing that if there is no food to be had then Adam has his permission to go ahead and die. Before he departs, Orlando makes sure that Adam is sheltered, not out in the cold air, again returning the care that Adam has previously given him. The reader sees Orlando's loyal, nurturing, and responsible side for the first time, which adds depth and maturity to his character.

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