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As You Like It

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Summary of the plot or 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.

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 once again. 

Information provided about the As You Like It play
William Shakespeare never published any of his plays and therefore none of the original manuscripts have survived. Eighteen unauthorised 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 Williamís plays in the First Folio. Some dates are therefore approximate other dates are substantiated by historical events, records of performances and the dates plays appeared in print.

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.

Date first printed
It is believed that As You Like It was first printed in 1623 in the First Folio. As William Shakespeare clearly did not want his work published details of the play would have therefore been noted, and often pirated without his consent, following a performance.

The setting for As You Like It
The setting for As You Like It is unclear - Arden in England or Ardennes in France

Theme of As You Like It
The play is categorised as a Comedy

Number of words in As You Like It
The number of words in the script, according to the Complete Public Domain Text is 22,960 

Most important characters
The most important characters in As You Like It are:
Rosalind and Orlando.

Famous Quotes / Quotations
The quotes from As You Like It are amongst Shakespeare's most famous including 'too much of a good thing' and 'All the world 's a stage, and all the men and women merely players'. Details of these famous quotes follow, complete with information regarding the Act and the Scene, allowing a quick reference to the section of the play that these quotations can be found in. Please click here for the full text of the script of the play.

"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" As You Like It - (Act II, Scene VII). 

Can one desire too much of a good thing?". As You Like It (Act IV, Scene I). 

"True is it that we have seen better days".
As You Like It - Act II, Scene VII). 

"For ever and a day".
As You Like It - (Act IV, Scene I).

"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool".
(Act V, Scene I).

History of As You Like It
There are no historical connection's to the play, it is all purely fictional.

William Shakespeare's Main Source
All characters and plot are purely fictitious but information was drawn from Rosalynde by Thomas Lodge (1557-1625) 

The Cast and Characters
Click the link to access a list of all the cast and characters in As You Like It.

Text - script of As You Like It play by William Shakespeare
Cast and characters in As You Like It play by William Shakespeare
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