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As You Like It | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Course Hero. "As You Like It Study Guide." Course Hero. 13 July 2017. Web. 27 May 2023. <>.

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As You Like It | Act 3, Scene 1 | Summary



Back at court Duke Frederick grills Oliver on the whereabouts of Orlando, praising his own "mercy" for not taking revenge on Oliver immediately. He gives Oliver twelve months to find and bring back his brother, "dead or living." In the meantime he seizes Oliver's lands and fortunes. Oliver panders to Duke Frederick, assuring him that "I never loved my brother in my life." Duke Frederick replies, "More villain thou," has him thrown out, and issues an order for his officers to seize all of Oliver's holdings immediately.


This scene is yet another reminder that life can change in an instant at the treacherous court. Duke Frederick uses his power with ruthless efficiency, despite his apparent belief in his own mercy. Oliver, whose only "crime" is being Orlando's brother (in other words, guilt by association), takes the brunt of Duke Frederick's anger, not that he is entirely innocent. He doesn't hesitate to sacrifice Orlando to curry favor with Duke Frederick and to disassociate himself from his brother, a ploy that even the duke finds despicable. Duke Frederick evidently can't see the hypocrisy in his own stance; he calls Oliver a villain for not loving his brother, yet Duke Frederick has done far worse to his own brother, Duke Senior. In short the pair are similar in this regard, both acting ruthlessly and showing no brotherly love for their siblings.

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