As You Like It: Act 3, Scene 4 - Summary & Analysis

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ACT III. Scene IV.


Introduction to the Scene

     It is a scene apparently falling on the following day. Celia humors Rosalind, who is irritable and impatient because Orlando is not punctual to his appointment. The appearance of Corin is a relief to Rosalind.

      We may note that incidentally, we leam that Rosalind has met with her father the Duke who has not been recognized.

      This scene indicates the processes of Rosalind’s love for Orlando. There are no serious obstacles impeding the course of love. Yet there is a period of suspense. Rosalind suffers from the pangs of seemingly unrequited love.


He writes brave verses, swears brave oaths and breaks them bravely, quite traverse, athwart the heart of his lover; as a puany tilter, that spurs his horse but on one side, breaks his staff like a noble goose. (Act III, Scene IV, Lines 43-47)

      Celia teases Rosalind and speaks these disparaging words. The point of her speech is that Orlando is not serious in his love for Rosalind. He contradicts himself and his oaths are hollow. They are not to be believed. He is therefore inconstant in love. He is just like an ill-trained horseman. A foolish horseman spurs his horse on one side only and breaks his spear across his enemy’s shield like a foolish adventurer. His spear falls across the enemy and is broken. Orlando breaks his oaths as the novice knight breaks his lance. Orlando breaks his (breaks the heart of his beloved) by swearing falsely, just as an inexpert knight in a tournament breaks his lance awkwardly across the breast of his opponent by spurring his horse on one side and breaking the his lance by faulty attack.

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