As You Like It: Act 3, Scene 1-5 - Summary

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Act 3, Scene 1

      At his palace, Duke Frederick orders Oliver to bring his brother to the court within a year or be exiled himself. As Oliver grovels, Duke Frederick scorns him as a villain for having never loved his own brother.

Act 3, Scene 2

      Orlando hangs love poems to Rosalind on trees throughout the forest, singing her praises as he does so. With the entrance of the fool and a shepherd, the play reverts to prose form; Touchstone demands that the shepherd Corin give an acceptable accounting of why he should spend his life in the countryside rather than at court. The fool manages to phrase his own reasons for favoring the court with enough nuance to stymie the peasant. Rosalind interrupts them as she arrives reading one of the anonymous poems written about her, which Touchstone promptly ridicules as being pedantic and dull, devising his own pithy and mocking rhymes. Celia then arrives reading a somewhat longer poem that Rosalind finds tedious.

      The two women send the two men off so they can talk together. Rosalind begins by deriding the author's poetic abilities. Celia then reveals to her cousin that she saw the poet hanging up one of the sheets and that he wears Rosalind's chain around his neck, at which news Rosalind reddens but seems not to realize that the man is Orlando. Celia first describes him, then reveals his identity, and Rosalind becomes quite agitated by romantic sentiments.

      Orlando himself then appears on the scene, chatting with Jaques, and the women hide. Orlando relates his affections for Rosalind and responds to Jaques's probing inquiries with fine wit. When Jaques slinks off, Rosalind disguised as Ganymede approaches, intending to best Orlando in conversation. She ends up carrying on a profound discourse about the passage of time experienced by people who spend their time differently. From the beginning, the conversation is strained by Rosalind's attempts to conceal her person. After remarking on how glad she is not to be a woman, Rosalind belittles Orlando for allowing himself to be infected with love, which she sees evidenced by his poems more than by his person. Rosalind then remarks that she can cure Orlando of his love if he will focus his affection on her (that is to say, Ganymede), and substitute the name Rosalind instead. He is skeptical but he agrees, and they head for the women's cottage.

Act 3, Scene 3

      In the forest, Touchstone and Audrey are carrying on something of a courtship, while Jaques watches from a concealed location. Audrey reveals her unfamiliarity with the notion of the "poetical", while Touchstone flaunts his wit and makes little secret of his desire simply to have sexual relations with the female goat-herd. After mentioning that he has brought along a local vicar to perform a marriage ceremony to legitimize their lovemaking, he speaks at length about animals and men and their horns, sustaining the sexual references. When Sir Oliver Mar-text begins to conduct the wedding, Jaques offers to give away the bride and then convinces Touchstone that such a dull marriage would not befit the gentleman that he is. Jaques at last leads the couple away.

Act 3, Scene 4

      At their cottage in the morning, Rosalind anxiously awaits Orlando, fretting to Celia about the color of his hair while admiring his evident chasteness. Celia admits that she doubts the truth of his love, leading Rosalind to inquires further. Rosalind also mentions that she met her father the day before and successfully maintained her disguise. When Corin arrives to lead them to the spectacle of Silvius trying to court Phebe (at which point the text switches to blank verse, the first time that such a change is introduced for a peasant) Rosalind remarks that she may "prove a busy actor in their play".

Act 3, Scene 5

      As Silvius begs Phebe to show him but the smallest kindness, Rosalind, Celia, and Corin arrive to observe. Phebe rejects Silvius saying that no man should be truly hurt by emotional disappointment. As Silvius despairs, Rosalind enters loves. After comparing him unfavorably to a snail, which at least has a home and horns on its head, Rosalind then urges Orlando to try and woo her. They banter about kissing and chasteness, then Rosalind echoes Phebe's earlier remarks about no man having ever truly died from love.

      When Orlando objects to Rosalind's lamenting tone, she becomes pleasanter, and they engage in a mock wedding ceremony. Nevertheless, she again grows negative, offering a list of ways in which she would disappoint Orlando as a wife. Ultimately she asserts that above all she would not abandon her wit, and if her husband tried to dismiss her, she would simply turn to another man. Orlando then departs to join the duke at dinner, asserting that he will return in two hours, and Rosalind remarks that if he breaks that promise, he will be thoroughly out of favor. Celia then chastises Rosalind for her disparaging remarks about the female sex, to which Rosalind replies only by celebrating the to first make fun of Phebe's appearance and then suggest to Silvius that he Would be better off seeking another mate; ultimately she recommends that they form a union, even if it might produce "ill-favored children". However, Phebe takes an instant liking to Ganymede, despite, if not because of, is aggressiveness. When Silvius and Phebe are again left alone, Phebe agrees to love Silvius not romantically but as a neighbor, as well as to employ him. Subsequently, she inquires about Ganymede and expresses how appealing she found his softer qualities. At last recalling Ganymede's bitterness and claiming to be offended by him, Phebe entreats Silvius to bring Ganymede a letter that she will compose.

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