As You Like It

The play opens with Orlando lamenting his sorry fate to Adam, his servant: Orlando’s father, upon his death, granted most of his estate to his other son, Oliver, and instructed him to raise his brothers, Orlando and Jaques, well. While treating Jaques fairly, however, Oliver has routinely denied Orlando all of the money, education, and basic respect that he deserves. Orlando concludes his lament by declaring that he will no longer tolerate Oliver’s tyranny, though at the same time acknowledging the impossibility of resisting it.

Oliver approaches and Adam slips away to observe the brothers’ exchange. Oliver ordersOrlando to quit his idleness and Orlando replies by complaining of his forced poverty. He proceeds to argue that, although Oliver’s age renders him legally superior, Orlando is still their father’s son and should be treated more like an equal. Oliver strikes him and calls him a villain.

Orlando expresses offense at the mere possibility that their father, Sir Rowland de Boys, could be said to have had villains for sons. He swears that he would kill Oliver if they weren’t brothers. Adam tries to intervene but Orlando continues to demand that Oliver grant Orlando either the bearings of a civil existence or the money that was left for him in his father’s will. Oliver orders that Orlando leave, hastily promising to Orlando that he “shall have some part of” his will. Orlando exits.

Oliver orders his servant Dennis to call inCharles, the duke’s wrestler, who has been waiting to see him. Charles informs Oliver thatDuke Frederick has usurped and banished his older brother, Duke Senior, whom several lords have since willingly joined in exile. He adds thatRosalind, the banished duke’s daughter, has remained in court with her beloved cousin Celia(Duke Frederick's daughter), and that the old duke has retreated to the Forest of Arden, where he and his men live like Robin Hood.

Charles informs Oliver that he is scheduled to wrestle the next...