Celia begs Rosalind to break her silence. She jests, “Cupid have mercy, not a word?” Rosalind explains that she is distraught not only for her father now, but also for her “child’s father.” Celia tries to cheer her and jokes that she must “wrestle with thy affections.” She asks if it is truly possible that she should fall so suddenly in love with Orlando, to which Rosalind responds in the affirmative.
It becomes clear that Rosalind has fallen in love with Orlando at first sight. Celia puns on the theme of wrestling, suggesting that just as Orlando wrestled with Charles (an act that won Rosalind’s instant love), Rosalind must now wrestle with and control her own emotions. Also note how love transfers Rosalind’s concern from her father to her beloved; this is a transfer embodied in a wedding when the father “gives away” the bride to her husband.
Duke Frederick enters and orders Rosalind to leave the court. He threatens her with death if she does not comply. Shocked, she asks what she's done to offend him, and the duke responds simply that she is a traitor, and that it is enough of an offense that she is the daughter of her father. Rosalind tries, unsuccessfully, to plead that “treason is not inherited.”
While Duke Frederick already acted upon his immense antipathy toward his brother, Duke Senior, only now have his feelings extended to Duke Senior’s daughter, Rosalind. The motivation for his sudden order for her banishment is never made entirely clear.
Celia declares that if Rosalind is banished, she will go with her, maintaining her refusal to leave Rosalind’s side. When Duke Frederick leaves, Celia proposes that they disguise themselves as peasants and go seek Rosalind’s father in the Forest of Arden.
Celia demonstrates her loyalty to Rosalind—holding that love higher than her duty or love to her own father—and introduces the theme of disguise and deception, as well as the idea that there is freedom in the forest that is absent in the court.
Rosalind agrees, but says that she’ll disguise herself instead like a man, given her height, and call herself Ganymede. Celia will call herself Aliena. They decide to bring along Touchstone, and Celia concludes their scheming with a declaration of freedom: “now go we in content / To liberty and not to banishment.”
The girls look optimistically at their situation and embrace it as an opportunity for freedom. In sneaking away and disguising themselves they are liberated not only from the tyranny of Duke Frederick, but also, in disguising themselves, from the confines of their own identities. Rosalind’s decision to dress up as a man for safety indicates the greater freedom and security for men in the this world. Her selection of the name Ganymede is a kind of symbolic joke. Ganymede was mentioned in The Iliad as the most beautiful man in the world who was abducted by Zeus, with whom he had a sexual affair. That Rosalind would disguise herself as a man thus connected to homosexuality captures the kind of gender confusion that will result from her disguise through the rest of the play.