As You Like It

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Themes and Colors
Deception, Disguise, and Gender Theme Icon
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Fools and Foolishness Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in As You Like It, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Romantic Love Theme Icon

As You Like It mocks traditional dramatizations of love, inspiring folly, servitude, and sorrow in its victims. Orlando’s bad, omnipresent poetry; Silvius’s slavish commitment to Phebe, a plain and unloving shepherdess; and Rosalind’s, Oliver’s, and Phebe’s speechless and instantaneous infatuations (they all fall in love at first sight) are all exaggerated instances of the dramatized representations of love that the play is mocking. At the end of the play, Rosalind serves as a fair judge of love, assessing the relationships of each character in the play and rationally determining who shall marry whom. The final scene is a grand wedding, with vows said between four couples (Rosalind and Orlando; Celia and Oliver; Touchstone and Aubrey; and Silvius and Phebe). The play thus concludes by celebrating a more reasonable, sustainable form of love, demonstrated in four instances of its most potent and permanent manifestation.

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Romantic Love Quotes in As You Like It

Below you will find the important quotes in As You Like It related to the theme of Romantic Love.
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. 
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Act 1, Scene 3 Quotes

Come, come, wrestle with thy affections.

Related Characters: Celia (speaker), Rosalind
Page Number: 1.3.21
Explanation and Analysis:
In a moment alone, Rosalind tells Celia that she is now overwhelmed with fear for both her father and her "Child's father", suggesting that she has two men on her mind: her banished father Duke Senior, and Orlando. Here, Celia tries to comfort Rosalind, telling her to control her emotions. The use of "wrestle" is playful, as Celia is referring to both Rosalind's internal struggle as well as the flirtation that transpired between Rosalind and Orlando after Orlando's wrestling match. Just as Orlando physically wrestled with Charles, so Rosalind must now wrestle with her own feelings for him. Even though they are cousins, Celia is a constant source of support and sisterly love for Rosalind. This is a tender moment leading up to the conflict that will occur between Rosalind and Celia's father. 
Act 2, Scene 4 Quotes

O, thou didst then never love so heartily! If thou rememb’rest not the slightest folly that ever love did make thee run into, thou hast not loved.

Related Characters: Silvius (speaker), Phebe
Page Number: 2.4.32
Explanation and Analysis:

Here we meet Silvius and Corin, Shepherds in the Forest of Arden. Upon entering, Silvius laments about his unrequited love for a woman (Phebe). He asks Corin if he remembers anything foolish that he has done in the name of love, and Corin cannot remember anything. Silvius replies with this quote, claiming that if Corin cannot remember the things he has done for love, he was never truly in love. Silvius suggests that love cannot exist without foolishness, echoing the remarks of both Rosalind and Orlando earlier in the play. Once again, love makes a fool out of everyday people—an idea exaggerated and satirized throughout As You Like It, as in many other Shakespeare comedies.

We that are true lovers run into strange capers; but as all is mortal in nature, so is all nature in love mortal in folly.

Related Characters: Touchstone (speaker)
Page Number: 2.4.53-55
Explanation and Analysis:

Rosalind, Touchstone and Celia have overheard Silvius' conversation with Corin. Rosalind tells the group that she can relate to Silvius. Touchstone then reflects on his own past lover, Jane Smile, and says once again that folly and foolishness are a direct result of deep love. Shakespeare brings up an interesting irony here. The memory of love causes Touchstone, the snide fool, to open up and have a moment of deep earnestness. While still comedic and couched in wordplay (using "mortal" to mean both that all living things eventually die and the foolishness of love eventually dies as well), his speech is truthful, suggesting that love can make even the funniest fool reflective and the most serious person foolish. 

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.

O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful, and yet again wonderful, and after that, out of all hooping!

Related Characters: Celia (speaker)
Related Symbols: Orlando’s Poems
Page Number: 3.2.195-197
Explanation and Analysis:

Dressed as Ganymede and a poor woman, Rosalind and Celia read the poems Orlando has posted onto the trees in the forest. The poems are extremely cliche and overly romantic, yet Rosalind doesn't seem to notice.

Celia then tells her that she knows who wrote the poems. She teases Rosalind by giving her hints, telling her that it is the wrestler Rosalind gave the chain to on their last night in court. She describes him as "wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful" and then tells Rosalind that the man who loves her is Orlando. Here, Celia once again pokes fun at Rosalind's passionate affection for Orlando. In this line she mimics the over-the-top nature of Orlando's poems. She also jests at Rosalind's ability to be blinded by love so much that she doesn't realize how corny the poems truly are. 

Then there is no true lover in the forest, else sighing every minute and groaning every hour would detect the lazy foot of Time as well as a clock.

Related Characters: Rosalind (speaker)
Related Symbols: Ganymede
Page Number: 3.2.307-310
Explanation and Analysis:
Orlando comes upon Rosalind and Celia in the forest—but they are dressed as Ganymede and a poor woman, so he does not recognize them. Rosalind decides to tease Orlando a bit to see how he acts, and to test the supposed strength of his love. She asks him the time and he says that he doesn't know. She then taunts him saying that he must not be a true lover, because a true lover sighs every minute and groans every hour, just as regularly as a clock ticks. By toying with Orlando and maintaining her disguise, Rosalind shows the audience that she has some control over her own love for Orlando. Orlando is also more casual and open with Rosalind in this moment because he see her as a fellow man, talking openly and freely about love. In many ways both find freedom in the role of Rosalind-as-Ganymede, as for the moment neither act like tongue-tied, foolish lovers.

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 3, Scene 5 Quotes

O, for shame, for shame, lie not, to say mine eyes are murderers. Now show the wound mine eye hath made in thee.

Related Characters: Phebe (speaker), Silvius
Page Number: 3.5.19-21
Explanation and Analysis:

In another part of the forest, Silvius the Shepherd begs Phebe, the woman he loves, to not hurt his feelings. He asks her to tell him if she loves him, and if she doesn't to do so nicely, comparing her to an executioner. Phebe replies with a speech criticizing Silvius' language. Here she rejects the hyperbolic nature of his rhetoric, saying that her eyes are not capable of murder. She challenges him to show her the physical scar that her eyes have caused, making the metaphorical literal.

Here, Phebe rejects the very language of love that characters like Orlando thrive on.  She is not in love with Silvius, so she cannot understand why he is behaving so foolishly. This lack of love keeps her pragmatic and honest. She is not as easily wooed or manipulated by love the way some of the other characters in the play are, making her a stark comedic contrast and logical voice in the play.

Dead shepherd, now I find thy saw of might, “Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?”

Related Characters: Phebe (speaker), Rosalind, Silvius
Related Symbols: Ganymede
Page Number: 3.5.86-87
Explanation and Analysis:

After her tiff with Silvius, Phebe meets Rosalind (disguised as Ganymede). Ganymede tells her that she isn't pretty enough to behave the way she is behaving. It is this cruelty and criticism that causes Phebe to in love with Ganymede at first sight, not knowing that she is truly a woman.  

After Rosalind leaves, in a moment of great irony, Phebe turns to Silvius and says this line. Phebe, who was critical of love language just moments before, has fallen into the pit immediately, claiming that true love is love at first sight. Furthermore, when faced with love, Phebe's entire language shifts. She is no longer logical or pragmatic but is rather hopelessly and foolishly in love, finding Ganymede's scorn attractive, even romantic. 

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 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. 

Act 5, Scene 4 Quotes

Peace ho! I bar confusion; ‘Tis I must make conclusion of these most strange events. Here’s eight that must take hands to join in Hymen’s bands, if truth holds true contents.

Related Characters: Hymen (speaker)
Page Number: 5.4.130-135
Explanation and Analysis:

After promising Orlando that he will marry Rosalind the day before, Rosalind appears at the altar as herself next to Hymen, the god of marriage. She is finally reunited with her father and Orlando sees her as she truly is. Hymen then sings a wedding song to marry the couple (along with the three other couples, as almost all the characters have paired off). Marriage is seen as the decisive way to end the confusion of the events that have ensued in the forest. Suddenly including Hymen, a god, is perhaps an indication of the kind of magic or even divine power that love can bring. And, in a more traditional viewpoint, Shakespeare suggests that it is marriage, supposedly the ultimate expression of romantic love, that leads to clarity.

Play, music, and you brides and bridegrooms all, with measure heaped in joy, to th’measures fall.

Related Characters: Duke Senior (speaker)
Page Number: 5.4.184-185
Explanation and Analysis:

Jaques De Boys, the brother of Orlando and Oliver, enters and tells the group that Duke Frederick (Celia's Father) was about to enter the woods to fight with his brother Duke Senior (Rosalind's father), but on the way encountered a man who encouraged him to convert and become a more peaceful and pious man. Duke Senior welcomes Jaques De Boys and encourages the celebrating to continue. He incites the group to celebrate as freely and happily as they desire, "in rustic revelry" of the forest. As it has been throughout the play, the forest and nature is a place of freedom and love.

By the end of the play, romantic love has developed nearly mystic powers. The marriage union of Orlando and Rosalind, Celia and Oliver, Touchstone and Audrey, and Phebe and Silvius meshes with the powers of the forest in a kind of magical, pagan way (a common theme in Shakespeare's comedies). The message here is that love makes fools of us, but it also betters us. Almost all the characters have found happiness in love, including Duke Frederick, apparently, who has rediscovered a love of God.