As You Like It: Act 2, Scene 6 - Summary & Analysis

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ACT II. Scene VI.


Introduction to the Scene

      The scene is compare with the novel where Orlando and Adam change places. Adam would cut “his vyne’s blood” to feed his exhausted master. In the play, it is the younger man who cheers and relieves his old servant. This picture is more natural, and further illustrates the noble and tender nature of Orlando. Shakespeare omits a detail (Adam’s proposal to Rosader) the mention of which would have been distasteful on the stage.


If the uncoulth forest yield anything savaged will either be food for it, or bring it food to thee. Thy conceit is nearer death than thy powers. (Act II, Scene VI, Lines 6-9)

      Orlando and Adam are roaming about the forest of Arden. Adam is dead tired and hungry and says that he can go no further, that he is dying for food and will lie down to measure out his grave. Orlando encourages him and asks him to try to comfort himself and cheer up his drooping spirits. He promises to bring food to him very soon and says that if there is any wild animal found in this forest, he will either be killed by him (the beast) or kill him and bring him as food for him (Adam). The word ‘uncouth’ means strange as well as fearful. But the way in which he cheers up Adam gives confidence to one who is fast sinking to death. Orlando says to Adam that he imagines himself nearer death than is actually the case. His strength is greater than he thinks it is. There is the contrast in the words ‘conceit’ and ‘power’. Adam thinks that he has no more strength left to fight against death. But this is only his imagination that he is dying. In truth, if he tries, he can hold on for a while, without food.

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