As You Like It: Act 4, Scene 1-3 - Summary

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Act 4, Scene 1

      Jaques is engaging in conversation with the disguised Rosalind and Celia, offering justification for his melancholy, which he claims stems in part from his travels; Rosalind says that she prefers the amusement of a fool to the sadness fostered by experience. When Orlando appears, Jaques exits, leaving Rosalind to chide Orlando for being so late to a meeting with one he supposedly depth of her love for Orlando.

Act 4, Scene 2

      Jaques and a few lords are found celebrating their successful deer hunt, although Jaques had earlier mourned the death of a hunted deer. One of the lords offers a song ritualizing the wearing of the deer's horns, horns that are portrayed as almost sacred.

Act 4, Scene 3

      As Celia and Rosalind wonder about Orlando's failure to return on time, Silvius appears accompanied by blank verse to present Rosalind, still dressed as Ganymede, with supposedly caustic letter from Phebe. In fact, finding the message to be one of love, Rosalind seizes the opportunity to jest with Silvius: she first claims that some man, certainly he, must have in fact written the "giantrude" invectively therein, then reads the letter aloud to reveal its actual loving contents. Finally, she sends Silvius on his way, although he is hope-lessly in love with Phebe.

      Oliver then arrives in search of the cottage and the disguised women, bearing a handkerchief stained with blood. He relates how Orlando had happened upon a man sleeping under a tree with a snake wrapped about his neck and a lioness crouching in the bushes nearby. The snake slithered away, leaving Orlando to discover that the man was none other than his elder brother Oliver; after some indecision, Orlando drove off the lioness, saving Oliver's life. Upon reaching the safety of the realm of Duke Senior, Orlando collapsed from a wound he received, then entreated Oliver to bring the handkerchief to Rosalind as a token.

      At this news, Rosalind herself swoons, leaving Oliver somewhat unconvinced of her masculinity. She hopes that Oliver will tell Orlando that she had only pretended to faint.

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