As You Like It

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Orlando Character Analysis

The youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys, Orlando is, in many respects, the hero of the play. Though cheated of his inheritance by his older brother, Oliver, and therefore uneducated and disadvantaged, he succeeds in the beginning of the play at winning both a wrestling match and Rosalind’s affection. Passionate and loving, he cares deeply for his servant, Adam, and composes countless (bad, though passionate) poems about his beloved Rosalind. He is educated on the subject of love by Rosalind (who is in disguise and whom he thinks is a man) throughout the play, and at the end, he proves his moral strength when he courageously fights a lioness to save his the life of his previously cruel brother.

Orlando Quotes in As You Like It

The As You Like It quotes below are all either spoken by Orlando or refer to Orlando. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of As You Like It published in 2009.
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

My father charged you in his will to give me good education: you have trained me like a peasant, obscuring and hiding from me all gentlemanlike qualities. The spirit of my father grows strong in me, and I will no longer endure it.

Related Characters: Orlando (speaker), Oliver
Page Number: 1.1.65-70
Explanation and Analysis:

As You Like It begins with a conflict between Orlando and his brother Oliver. After the death of their father, Oliver was tasked with taking care of his younger brothers Orlando and Jaques. Here, Orlando laments on how poorly his brother has treated him. This moment introduces readers to the theme of rivalry between relatives. Oliver has done a great disservice to Orlando and their father by keeping his brother uneducated and "ungentlemanly"—by doing so he leaves Orlando in a unique and subordinate position. He is still a member of the court, but was not taught how to behave like a nobleman, and thus is likely to be scorned and looked down upon. This internal struggle within Orlando will come to play out throughout As You Like It. 

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other As You Like It quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

I hope I shall see an end of him; for my soul, yet I know not why, hates nothing more than he. Yet he’s gentle, never schooled and yet learned, full of noble device, of all sorts enchantingly beloved.

Related Characters: Oliver (speaker), Orlando
Page Number: 1.1.161-165
Explanation and Analysis:

Charles, a wrestler and friend of Oliver's, enters and tells Oliver that his brother Orlando plans to disguise himself and fight against Charles in a wrestling match. Charles warns Oliver that he will likely hurt or embarrass Orlando if he is allowed in the wrestling ring. Oliver lies and tells Charles that he has already warned Orlando. He then calls his brother a villain and encourages Charles to break his neck as if it were a "finger." He also warns Charles that if he doesn't beat Orlando he must never wrestle for money again. In all this we see the extent of Oliver's cruelty and irrational hatred toward his brother. He even acknowledges that Orlando is a good and admirable man, but Oliver still can't seem to help hating him—and he accepts this hatred and acts upon it. This moment also sets up the wrestling match as an important plot point in the play; the physical conflict begins here as well as Orlando's relationship with Rosalind. 

Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

What passion hangs these weights upon my tongue? I cannot speak to her, yet she urged conference.

Related Characters: Orlando (speaker), Rosalind
Page Number: 1.2.258-259
Explanation and Analysis:
After winning the wrestling match, Orlando admits his true identity to Rosalind and Celia. Rosalind tells him that if she knew who he was she would have stopped him from fighting, and she then gives him a chain as a congratulatory gift and symbol of her respect for his father and his victory. Orlando is immediately smitten. He says this line after Rosalind and Celia exit. Orlando, who earlier stood up to his brother with keen articulation is, for the first time, at a loss for words. This is the first time of many where his love for Rosalind will make him speak foolishly. 
Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

Poor old man, thou prun’st a rotten tree that cannot so much as a blossom yield in lieu of all thy pains and husbandry. But come thy ways, we’ll go along together.

Related Characters: Orlando (speaker), Adam
Page Number: 2.3.64-67
Explanation and Analysis:

Adam warns Orlando to not return to his house in fear that Oliver will kill him. Trying to convince Orlando to flee, Adam tells him that he will give up his possessions and come with him to escape the court. In this speech,Orlando shows deep gratitude for the old man who has served his family. He respects Adam's devotion and agrees to leave the court together with him. Using the natural imagery of the tree, Orlando tells Adam that in agreeing to go with him he is "pruning a tree with no blossoms"—they will lose everything, and there is probably no reward to result from their hardships. Here we see Adam and Orlando mirroring Rosalind and Celia—although not relatives by blood, they behave and love each other as such. 

Act 3, Scene 2 Quotes

Run, run, Orlando, carve on every tree the fair, the chaste, and unexpressive she.

Related Characters: Orlando (speaker), Rosalind
Related Symbols: Orlando’s Poems
Page Number: 3.2.9-10
Explanation and Analysis:
In a moment alone, Orlando soliloquizes about his love for Rosalind. He reads a poem that he has written comparing her to the Queen Of The Night, Diana, and shares his plan to post all of his love poems on the trees of the Forest of Arden. As predicted, love has turned him into the fool. He is mad with it. His poem is extremely romantic, calling the trees his "books" where he can share his undying love for Rosalind with the entire forest. His desire to post his love poems on every tree indicates the vast expanse and extent of Orlando's love for Rosalind, also shows that he feels that especially foolish desire, often associated with lovers, to make his feelings as public as possible.

Love is merely a madness, and, I tell you, deserves as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do; and the reason why they are not so punished and cured is that the lunacy is so ordinary that the whippers are in love too. Yet I profess curing it by counsel.

Related Characters: Rosalind (speaker), Orlando
Related Symbols: Ganymede
Page Number: 3.2.407-412
Explanation and Analysis:

"Ganymede" and Orlando continue to discuss life and love. Yet Unbeknownst to Orlando, the young boy he is speaking to is actually his one true love Rosalind. She then taunts him, telling him that she would like to give some advice to the young man who keeps carving love notes on trees. Orlando reveals that he is the one doing so. She tests him, asking him if he truly loves Rosalind as much as he says he does. He replies by telling her that "neither rhyme nor reason" can express his love. She retorts with this quote, in which she claims that love is a disease that needs to be cured. (In Shakespeare's time, mental illness was often "treated" by locking the patient in a dark room or beating them—and here Rosalind suggests the same "cure" for lovers.) She then offers to assist Orlando in curing his love sickness by pretending to be the woman he loves and coaching him on how to manage his feelings for her. 

Rosalind finds freedom in her disguise, playing with Orlando and testing his love for her by calling his poetry a sign of madness. This also begins the relationship of Rosalind (Ganymede) as teacher and Orlando as student. She aims to teach Orlando to be a suitable lover for her while also spending time with him without the foolishness that love incites in both of them. 

Act 4, Scene 1 Quotes

Nay, you were better speak first, and when you were graveled for lack of matter, you might take occasion to kiss. Very good orators, when they are out, they will spit; and for lovers, lacking – God warn us! – matter, the cleanliest shift is to kiss.

Related Characters: Rosalind (speaker), Orlando
Related Symbols: Ganymede
Page Number: 4.1.77-82
Explanation and Analysis:

Orlando arrives late for his first lesson on love from Ganymede. Rosalind (as Ganymede) scolds him for missing their meeting that morning, and makes Orlando apologize to her as if she is Rosalind. She then asks him what he would do in this moment if she were Rosalind. Orlando tells her that he'd kiss her. Rosalind replies with this line, telling Orlando that lovers must always speak first and then only kiss when they run out of things to say. Once again, Rosalind finds great satisfaction in educating orlando under the guise of Ganymede. She finds freedom in her disguise and is able to speak to him in a way that she wouldn't be able to as a woman. This moment also reveals how hasty and dumbfounded Orlando is by his love for Rosalind. He immediately resorts to kissing as opposed to thinking and speaking. 

Act 4, Scene 3 Quotes

Twice did he turn his back and purposed so; but kindness, nobler ever than revenge, and nature, stronger than his just occasion, made him give battle to the lioness.

Related Characters: Oliver (speaker), Orlando
Page Number: 4.3.134-137
Explanation and Analysis:

Oliver enters and notices that Rosalind and Celia fit the descriptions of Ganymede and Aliena, the two he has been searching for. He hands Rosalind a bloody napkin, explaining that the reason why Orlando never showed up for their meeting was because he saw an unconscious man with a snake slithering around his neck, and a lion hiding in the woods near the man. Orlando then realized that the man was Oliver, and contemplated whether or not to leave him there to die. He twice decided to leave, but then ultimately decided to save his brother, and was wounded in the process. This act of kindness changed Oliver. Seeing his brother choose the power of nature over revenge influenced him to become a better person. 

The rivalry between Orlando and Oliver has come to a close in a moment of self sacrifice (and one which occurs off-stage). What is more, Orlando, who was never given any proper education due to the cruelty of his older brother, makes the choice to do the kind and noble thing, whereas Oliver, a man raised in the court, has always turned a blind eye to the needs of his brother. The social freedom forest can change people so much that even the seemingly evil Oliver can actually become good.

Act 5, Scene 2 Quotes

Your brother and my sister no sooner met but they looked; no sooner looked but they loved; no sooner loved but they sighed; no sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason; no sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy; and in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage.

Related Characters: Rosalind (speaker), Orlando, Oliver, Celia
Page Number: 5.2.33-39
Explanation and Analysis:

Oliver has fallen in love with Aliena (Celia). He asks his brother Orlando for consent, and, thinking he is going to marry a shepherdess- as opposed to a noblewoman- he decides to give his fortune to Orlando. As he exits, Rosalind enters and talks with Orlando about the unusual romance that has sparked between Aliena and Oliver. Here she reflects (both poetically and humorously) on the immediacy of their love as well as how deep it seems to be. 

Similar to Phebe, Oliver has been wooed at first sight and throws away all pragmatism to be with the woman he loves. The man who once valued wealth and esteem in the court more than his own brother is now giving away his entire fortune to be with a shepherdess. This indicates how much romantic love changes the entire world view of an individual, especially in the exaggerated action of the comedy.

[To Orlando] As you love Rosalind, meet. [To Silvius] As you love Phebe, meet. And as I love no woman, I’ll meet. So fare you well.

Related Characters: Rosalind (speaker), Orlando, Silvius, Phebe
Related Symbols: Ganymede
Page Number: 5.3.124-126
Explanation and Analysis:

All of the lovers unite in one scene. Phebe tells Rosalind (as Ganymede) that she is furious that "he" shared her letter. Silvius still pines for Phebe. Oliver loves Aliena (Celia) and Orlando is downtrodden at his inability to find Rosalind.

Rosalind quiets the group by explaining that the next day all will be answered (as she plans to reveal herself). She tells each of the lovers that they will meet the one they love as they really are. Once again Rosalind is the authority, the teacher of all things regarding love. Although the group doesn't understand how, they trust that she will bring all of their problems to a resolution. Yet it is important to note that she also maintains her leadership position because she is still thought to be a man. Her disguise has given her the freedom of manhood, the ability to lead. 

This moment also depicts the true chaos caused by Rosalind's disguise. Love has driven all the characters mad, and Rosalind knows that she cannot wait any longer to reveal herself. 

Get the entire As You Like It LitChart as a printable PDF.
As you like it.pdf.medium

Orlando Character Timeline in As You Like It

The timeline below shows where the character Orlando appears in As You Like It. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
The play opens with Orlando lamenting his sorry fate to Adam, his servant: Orlando’s father, upon his death, granted most... (full context)
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Oliver approaches and Adam slips away to observe the brothers’ exchange. Oliver orders Orlando to quit his idleness and Orlando replies by complaining of his forced poverty. He proceeds... (full context)
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Orlando expresses offense at the mere possibility that their father, Sir Rowland de Boys, could be... (full context)
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Charles informs Oliver that he is scheduled to wrestle the next day with Orlando, who plans to fight in disguise. Because he must win every match in order to... (full context)
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Oliver feigns gratitude and falsely claims that he has already tried to dissuade Orlando from fighting. He goes on to describe his brother as “the stubbornest young fellow of... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
The upcoming opponent, Orlando, enters with Duke Frederick, Charles, and various attendants, and Celia remarks on how young Orlando... (full context)
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Before an audience of Duke Frederick and the sisters, Charles and Orlando commence the match. Charles is thrown, leaving Orlando the victor. Duke Frederick, impressed by anyone... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Having learned the identity of Orlando’s father, Rosalind declares that she would have been all the more insistent that he not... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Le Beau then advises Orlando to leave, since he has unintentionally displeased the duke. Orlando thanks him, then asks which... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 3
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
...asks if it is truly possible that she should fall so suddenly in love with Orlando, to which Rosalind responds in the affirmative. (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
...is missing, and that Hisperia, Celia’s gentlewoman, thinks the girls are in the company of Orlando, because she’d heard them speaking fondly of him. Duke Frederick orders the lords to retrieve... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Orlando, about to enter his home, is met with a long soliloquy by his servant, Adam,... (full context)
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Orlando asks what’s the matter, and Adam responds that Orlando cannot enter his own home, because... (full context)
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Orlando praises Adam’s ethic of servitude—prizing duty over reward. He adds that this attribute was more... (full context)
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Adam promises to follow Orlando forevermore, and reflects on his departure from the court, where he has served since he... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 6
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
As Orlando and Adam enter the Forest of Arden, Adam complains that he can go no further... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 7
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Orlando enters and orders, “eat no more!” With drawn sword he demands food. Duke Senior and... (full context)
Country vs. City Theme Icon
...been to church, and that they accept his forgiveness and hope to fulfill his needs. Orlando asks if they will wait a moment to eat their food while he goes to... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Fools and Foolishness Theme Icon
Orlando and Adam return, and Amiens sings a depressing song about the unkindness and invisibility of... (full context)
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Duke Senior, having recognized Orlando as the son of Sir Rowland de Boys, tells Orlando that he truly loved his... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Duke Frederick instructs Oliver to go find Orlando, wherever he is. He says that if Oliver does not bring Orlando to him, dead... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Fools and Foolishness Theme Icon
Orlando is reading what appears to be his own poetry from a piece of paper in... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Rosalind, dressed as Ganymede, enters, reading one of Orlando’s poems that she has pulled from a tree and is holding in her hands. Touchstone,... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Celia enters, reading another of Orlando’s tree poems, which describes Rosalind as the synthesis of all the best features of Helen,... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Celia recounts having found Orlando under a tree, dressed like a hunter. Rosalind comments that Orlando is dressed that way... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Fools and Foolishness Theme Icon
Orlando and Jaques enter, bickering. Jaques insults Rosalind’s name, and tells Orlando that being in love... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Rosalind (still disguised as Ganymede) approaches Orlando and asks what time it is. When he answers that he doesn’t know because there... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Orlando doubts that Rosalind, who he takes for a country shepherd, could have acquired her manner... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
...trees and expresses her desire to meet and advise the love-swept poet who’s posted them. Orlando admits to being the very poet. Though Rosalind (as Ganymede) at first pretends to express... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Orlando agrees to try her method, which begins with calling her by the name Rosalind. (full context)
Act 4, Scene 1
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Orlando enters and Rosalind (dressed as Ganymede) scolds him for missing their meeting that morning, claiming... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Rosalind teases Orlando that she will not accept him as a lover and he dramatically replies that he... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Next, Rosalind (as Ganymede) tries to make herself (Rosalind) seem unappealing by promising Orlando that she will be jealous and temperamental in their marriage, all the more so because... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Rosalind (still disguised as Ganymede) is impatiently awaiting Orlando, who is now late. Celia suggests that he has gone to sleep. (full context)
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
...Ganymede and Aliena. He then notes that the two people he is speaking to fit Orlando’s description of Aliena and Ganymede, and asks if they in fact they are the owners... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
...in response he himself has had a conversion to kindness and that he cared for Orlando’s wound before coming to deliver the napkin to Ganymede so that he would excuse Orlando’s... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 2
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Orlando is asking Oliver if it is possible that he could have fallen so instantly in... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Rosalind enters just as Oliver departs, and discusses with Orlando the sudden love between her cousin and his brother. Orlando says he is glad to... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
...responds that that she is skilled in the art of magic and promises that, if Orlando loves Rosalind as much as he claims to, he will be married to her tomorrow... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
...and observance…”, and proclaims himself to be all of those things for Phebe, just as Orlando is for Rosalind, Phebe for Ganymede, and Rosalind for no woman. (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Rosalind resolves the scene by telling everyone what will happen the next day: Orlando, Silvius, and she (i.e. Ganymede) will all be married; and she (i.e Ganymede) will satisfy... (full context)
Act 5, Scene 4
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Duke Senior, Amiens, Jaques, Orlando, Oliver, and Celia (as Aliena) enter. In response to Duke Senior’s questions about Ganymede’s promise,... (full context)
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Country vs. City Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Fools and Foolishness Theme Icon
...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... (full context)