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As You Like It | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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As You Like It | Quotes


But I, his brother, gain nothing under him but growth, for the which his animals on his dunghills are as much bound to him as I.

Orlando, Act 1, Scene 1

Orlando complains bitterly to Adam of the ill treatment he has received from Oliver since their father's death. Orlando feels like a mere barnyard animal; he has been given food and shelter but no opportunity to better himself as his noble birth should allow.


Her cousin so loves her, being ever from their cradles bred together, that she would have followed her exile or have died to stay behind her.

Charles, Act 1, Scene 1

Charles tells of how Rosalind came to stay at the court when her father Duke Senior was banished. It was Celia's strong love for her cousin that caused Duke Frederick to keep Rosalind at court.


The more pity that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly.

Touchstone, Act 1, Scene 2

Touchstone tells an unflattering anecdote about the character of one of Duke Frederick's knights, and Celia hushes him. She will not hear words spoken against her father or his people, even if they are true. For this Touchstone laments that he, the fool, is reprimanded for speaking the truth to impart wisdom, while his social superiors ("wise men") may spread the same story as mere gossip.


I am more proud to be Sir Rowland's son,/His youngest son, and would not change that calling/To be adopted heir to Frederick.

Orlando, Act 1, Scene 2

Even though Orlando beats Charles handily in the wrestling match, Duke Frederick dismisses him coldly because he is the son of his former enemy, Sir Rowland. Orlando stands firm in his identity, though, and will not dishonor his father's memory to earn Duke Frederick's favor.


In my heart/Lie there what hidden woman's fear there will,/We'll have a swashing and a martial outside.

Rosalind, Act 1, Scene 3

As Rosalind and Celia prepare to travel to the Forest of Arden in disguise, Rosalind reflects on her adopted role as a man. Despite any "womanly" fear, she will present a strong, "mannish" front in order to deter trouble on the road.


Now go we in content/To liberty, and not to banishment.

Celia, Act 1, Scene 3

Celia puts a positive spin on leaving the court for life in the forest to help bolster Rosalind's spirits and courage. She assures her cousin that this banishment will, in fact, be a good thing: it will allow them the freedom to chart their own course in life.


Hath not old custom made this life more sweet/Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods/More free from peril than the envious court?

Duke Senior, Act 2, Scene 1

Duke Senior philosophizes with his lords, speaking of how their exile in the forest is better than life at court—now that they've grown accustomed to its hardships. Though the woods have wild beasts and rough weather, Duke Senior feels safer there than he does among the vipers at court. The "painted pomp" of jealous courtiers seems superficial and ridiculous to him now.


And so, from hour to hour we ripe and ripe,/And then from hour to hour we rot and rot,/And thereby hangs a tale.

Jaques, Act 2, Scene 7

Mr. Melancholy, Jaques enjoys nothing more than philosophizing, especially if the subject at hand is morose. Here he discusses aging and the passing of time, how quickly one's youth turns into overripeness followed by the rotting of old age. While each person's tale may be different, the effects of aging will remain a constant.


Speak you so gently? Pardon me, I pray you./I thought that all things had been savage here.

Orlando, Act 2, Scene 7

Orlando, expecting nothing but trouble in the Forest of Arden, approaches Duke Frederick and his men with sword drawn. He is surprised and humbled at Duke Senior's gentle welcome and apologizes for his behavior. While the court is supposed to be the civilized place, it is in truth more dangerous for Orlando than the forest, where he finds true civility.


All the world's a stage,/And all the men and women merely players./They have their exits and their entrances,/And one man in his time plays many parts.

Jaques, Act 2, Scene 7

Jaques philosophizes about how life, in its own way, is a performance. Each person has roles they will play simply by being human. He compares birth and death to entrances and exits, and by extension the stages of a person's life become acts in their own ongoing play.


Good manners at the court are as ridiculous in the country as the behavior of the country is most mockable at the court.

Corin, Act 3, Scene 2

Clever Touchstone upholds court manners as superior to country customs, but simple shepherd Corin points out that there is more than one view on the subject. His plain-spoken wisdom is a breath of fresh air, standing in contrast to the twists and turns of Touchstone's witty philosophizing.


Men have died from time to time and worms have eaten them, but not for love.

Rosalind, Act 4, Scene 1

When Orlando claims he will die without Rosalind's love, Rosalind (as Ganymede) ridicules the idea. Her aim is to debunk the false ideals and pretty, meaningless words of courtly love in order to reveal the true nature of authentic love. She wants to know—does Orlando really love her? To this end she shreds his romantic hyperbole with logic and wit.


You have simply misused our sex in your love-prate. We must have your doublet and hose ... and show the world what the bird hath done to her own nest.

Celia, Act 4, Scene 1

Celia is disgusted with Rosalind (who has just spoken to Orlando in her role as Ganymede) for her unflattering words about women, which is perhaps more a display of wit to impress Orlando than her true opinion. Even so her speech supports feminine stereotypes such as being talkative and devious—able to spin any situation to her advantage through words—and Celia takes her to task for putting down her own gender in such a manner.


Your brother and my sister no sooner met but they looked, no sooner looked but they loved, no sooner loved but they sighed ...

Rosalind, Act 5, Scene 2

Rosalind tells Orlando of the lightning-bolt love that has struck Oliver and Celia, leading them in rapid succession from first glance to love, and thence to marriage.


It is not the fashion to see the lady the epilogue, but it is no more unhandsome than to see the lord the prologue.

Rosalind, Epilogue

As with the rest of the play, the epilogue challenges gender roles, turning expectations upside down. At the time the play was written, women did not act in plays, so the actor playing Rosalind would have been a male. Moreover, epilogues were generally voiced by male characters. Having Rosalind deliver the closing speech underscores her importance as the person she is, rather than as a female or male, and also asks the audience to consider gender roles and whether they are fair or necessary.

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