As You Like It

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As You Like It Act 5, Scene 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Duke Senior, Amiens, Jaques, Orlando, Oliver, and Celia (as Aliena) enter. In response to Duke Senior’s questions about Ganymede’s promise, Orlando says that he sometimes believes and sometimes doubts that it will come true. Rosalind (disguised as Ganymede) enters along with Silvius and Phebe and makes sure that everyone is ready for what is to come to pass: that Duke Senior will give Rosalind to Orlando, that Orlando will marry Rosalind, and that Phebe will marry Ganymede unless for some reason Phebe refuses, in which case she will marry Silvius.
Again, Rosalind reigns over matters of love, reiterating the plan that she announced previously.
Themes
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
When Rosalind (as Ganymede) and Celia leave, the Duke remarks that Ganymede reminded him of his daughter, and Orlando confirms the resemblance but recounts “Ganymede’s” alibi about getting her courtly manners from her articulate uncle.
It is amusing, perhaps unbelievable, that Duke Senior has only a fleeting suspicion of Ganymede’s true identity, given that “he” is the Duke's daughter. Also interesting is that he seems to recognize her because of her courtly manners, not just her physical resemblance.
Themes
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Touchstone enters with Audrey, and Jaques identifies him as the fool he had mentioned meeting earlier in the forest. Touchstone claims that he has just had a quarrel that was taken “upon the seventh cause.” At Jaques’s pressing, Touchstone explains what he means by “seventh cause”: that, after he told a courtier he met along the road that the man’s beard was poorly cut, there were seven levels of retorts, including the Retort Courteous and the Quip Modest. Touchstone goes on to suggest that every level of retort could be avoided but the Lie Direct. Duke Senior praises Touchstone for his wit, remarking that “he uses his folly like a stalking horse, and under the presentation of that he shoots his wit.”
Touchstone proves his wit before an audience, and gets the approval of Duke Senior, who immediately recognizes the clown’s wisdom. His reference to seven levels of retorts is reminiscent of Jaques’s description of the seven stages in a man’s life, in his “all the world’s a stage” speech.
Themes
Fools and Foolishness Theme Icon
Hymen, the god of marriage, enters, with Celia and Rosalind at his side, dressed now as themselves. Rosalind presents herself to Duke Senior and to Orlando, both of whom express some disbelief at her appearance; the former remarks “if there be truth in sight, you are my daughter,” and the latter, “if there be truth in sight, you are my Rosalind.” At the sight of Rosalind, Phebe bids adieu to her chance at love with Ganymede. Hymen sings a marriage hymn, in which he says he will remove all confusion and addresses all pairs of lovers present: Orlando and Rosalind, Phebe and Silvius, Oliver and Celia, and Touchstone and Audrey.
At last, all of the play’s characters assemble together. Rosalind and Celia assume their true identities, and present themselves to their lovers, and the gender confusion disappears as the god of marriage appears to bring the couples together in matrimony. Marriage here is seen in a conservative light—as something that ends confusion by bringing together a man and a woman. Even Phebe rather easily transfers her love from "Ganymede" to Silvius.
Themes
Romantic Love Theme Icon
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Jaques de Boys enters and reports that Duke Frederick, who had been on his way to the Forest of Arden fight with his brother, came across a religious man along the way and was converted to a love of peace. After his conversion, he decided to return his crown to his banished brother, restore all of Duke Senior’s lands, and go to live in a monastery. Duke Senior welcomes Jaques de Boys, and praises the good fortune of the occasion; he suggests that they “let us do those ends that here were well begun and well begot” and that they “fall into… rustic revelry.”
Duke Frederick’s reported conversion mirrors Oliver’s earlier conversion— while the latter was inspired by Orlando’s exemplary moral conduct, the former was motivated by a spiritual enlightenment. The monastery is unique, and distinct from both court and countryside, in being neither wholly refined and mannered nor wholly unmannered and free—it is instead a place of thought and prayer, away from people of all types, away from the messiness of the world.
Themes
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Everyone rejoices that they can return to the royal court, except for Jaques who announces that he will go join Duke Frederick in his life of contemplation at the monastery. He explains that he feels himself to be suited “for other than for dancing measures,” and says his goodbyes to Duke Senior, Orlando, Oliver, Silvius, and Touchstone. Jaques exits and all the other characters, except for Rosalind, dance off the stage.
Jaques, as someone who sees the world as almost solely full of sadness, decides that he is unsuited for that world. The monastery may be the only place where the world doesn’t feel so much like a “stage,” where nobody is acting at all because they are all in contemplation. And yet there remains something deeply silly about Jaques, who is so serious about everything, who seems to want to look wise more than anything.
Themes
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Fools and Foolishness Theme Icon