As You Like It: Act 5, Scene 2 - Summary & Analysis

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Act V. Scene II.


Introduction to the Scene

      A further prelude to the wedding scene in which we have the final resolution of the plot. Rosalind marshals the characters preparatory to their respective wedding. The denouement is woven round the proposed wedding of Celia and Oliver. The throwing off of the disguise by Rosalind is arranged for in an atmosphere of tense expectation. Everybody is looking forward to a miracle.


There was never a thing as sudden; but the fight of two rams, and Caesar’s thrasonical brag of ‘I came, saw, and overcame.’ (Act V Scene II, Lines 34-36)

      Rosalind feels surprised at the sudden love between Celia and Oliver the wicked but reformed brother of Orlando. But Rosalind forgets that her own love was sudden, it was also ‘love first sight.’ The difference between the love of these two pairs is not that the first is slow and the second sudden.

      The difference is that Rosalind has loved a noble man while Celia has fallen in love with a depraved man. Our surprise and shock does not consist in the suddenness of the ‘love at first sight’ but in the fact that Celia, a noble lady, should fall in love with a person who is the villain of the play.

      Rosalind says that the love affair between Oliver and her sister, Celia, may be compared to the fight between two rams (who quarrel on the least provocation) and the swift and sudden overthrow of Pontus by Caesar. Thrasonical brag is the boastful despatch of Julius Caesar of the Roman Senate after his victory over Pontus in a campaign of five days’ duration. It consisted of the Words Veni, Vidi, Vici, which means I came, I saw, I conquered.

      Thrasonical is derived from the name of a character in Terence’s play of Eunuchs (161. B.C.) There was a bragging soldier so Thrasonical means boastful.

.....they are in very wrath of love, and they will together; I clubs cannot part them. (Act V, Scene II, Lines 43-45)

      Rosalind speaks humorously of the love in which Celia and Oliver have fallen desperately. These lines again illustrate the principle of ‘love at first.’ Both Celia and Oliver are swayed by the passion of love. They are loving each other with a vengeance. They are intensely, even madly, in love with each other. Under the master passion of love, they are prepared to defy the whole world in order to remain united. Nothing can part them. The simple idea is given in terms of a contemporary reference. It appears from many of our old dramas that it was a common custom, on the breaking out of a fray, to call out clubs to part the combatants. “Clubs” was originally the popular cry to call forth the London apprentices, who employed their clubs for the preservation of the public peace; sometimes, however, they used these weapons to raise a disturbance.

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