As You Like It: Act 2, Scene 1-7 - Summary

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Act 2, Scene 1

      The second act provides a transition from the court to the forest, with the first scene taking place in Arden, the second at court, the third at Oliver's, and each scene thereafter in the forest. The foremost patriarchal figure of the woodlands is introduced, Duke Senior, who is attended by Amiens and a number of lords. After extolling upon the virtues of the forest, Duke Senior regrets his company's need to kill the deer, who are true forest natives, for their meat. One lord mentions how the "melancholy Jaques", who was just seen mourning a mortally wounded deer, is particularly revolted by their intrusions on nature. Interested in some conversation with the philosophizer - if only for amusement - Duke Senior and his lords depart in search of him.

Act 2, Scene 2

      At the court, briefly, Duke Frederick is made aware of the disappearance of both his niece and his daughter and also of their expressed affection for Orlando, who may have accompanied them. Frederick then summons Oliver.

Act 2, Scene 3

      At Oliver's house, Adam meets Orlando and praises his many virtues, affectionately referring to him as a "memory of old Sir Rowland", then warns him that Oliver is scheming to have him murdered, if not by arson then by some other means. Knowing he would be unable to live life as an amoral thief, Orlando resolves to face his brother, until Adam volunteers his life's savings and his service to help the youngest brother find shelter and provisions somewhere. The two depart together.

Act 2, Scene 4

      Rosalind, Celia, and Touchstone appear in the Forest of Arden, incredibly weary from their travels, with the fool regretting having left the court. The woodland shepherds Corin and Silvius then appear, softening the mood of the scene by speaking of love: Silvius expresses his adoration of Phebe and accuses the elder Corin of having never been a true lover himself, as he remembers none of his lover's follies. Rosalind is reminded of her own aching for Orlando, and Touchstone reminisces somewhat soberly upon a love of his youth. The fool then calls out to Corin, and Rosalind inquires about lodgings and food; through Corin, they secure the purchase of a cottage and a flock of sheep.

Act 2, Scene 5

      Amiens and Jaques share songs about the peace-fulness of the forest, where the only enemies are "winter and rough weather". Jaques again mentions his distaste for men, specifically their general lack of manners, and notes that he has been avoiding Duke Senior because he finds him "too disputable".

Act 2, Scene 6

      Adam and Orlando stumble into the Forest of Arden. When Adam collapses, Orlando sets out to seek help for him.

Act 2, Scene 7

      Jaques and Duke Senior meet, and Jaques relates his earlier encounter with Touchstone when the fool uttered some witty comments about the passing of the time. Duke Senior scoffs at the soundness of Jaques's judgments given his checkered past. Orlando then arrives, threatening to attack them and rob them of their food, only to be offered the food gladly by the gentle-manly Duke Senior. As Orlando leaves to return to Adam, Duke Senior and Jaques muse on the theatricality of life, with Jaques giving the famous "seven ages" speech, in which he remarks that a Single man goes through seven stages, or acts, in the course of his lifetime. ("All the world's a stage And all the men and women merely players.") Amiens marks the meal with a song, "Blow, blow, thou winter wind," and the duke rejoices in meeting the son of his beloved and deceased friend Sir Rowland de Boys.

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