As You Like It

Oliver Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
The oldest son of Sir Rowland de Boys, Oliver harbors an irrational hatred for his brother, Orlando. He deprives him of his inheritance and education and plots to burn his house down. When ordered by Duke Frederick to find his brother, Oliver ventures into the Forest of Arden, where Orlando saves his life by fighting off a lioness, thereby inspiring in him a change of character. He becomes more loving and less spiteful, improvements that are demonstrated by his instant and profound love for Celia (when she is dressed as Aliena) despite her uncivil shepherdess’s exterior. He and Celia are eventually married.

Oliver Quotes in As You Like It

The As You Like It quotes below are all either spoken by Oliver or refer to Oliver. 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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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Oliver Character Timeline in As You Like It

The timeline below shows where the character Oliver 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
...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,... (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... (full context)
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Oliver orders his servant Dennis to call in Charles, the duke’s wrestler, who has been waiting... (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... (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.... (full context)
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
The scene ends with Oliver acknowledging in a soliloquy his irrationally extreme hatred for his brother: “my soul, yet I... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
...and Adam responds that Orlando cannot enter his own home, because his brother is inside. Oliver, it seems, has heard of Orlando’s success in the wrestling match and intends to burn... (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... (full context)
Act 4, Scene 3
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Love and Rivalry Between Relatives Theme Icon
Oliver enters, looking for the sheep cottage owned by Ganymede and Aliena. He then notes that... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
Oliver reports that in response he himself has had a conversion to kindness and that he... (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 love with her... (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... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
...he claims to, he will be married to her tomorrow at the same time when Oliver marries “Aliena.” (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, Orlando... (full context)
Romantic Love Theme Icon
...all confusion and addresses all pairs of lovers present: Orlando and Rosalind, Phebe and Silvius, Oliver and Celia, and Touchstone and Audrey. (full context)
Country vs. City Theme Icon
Fools and Foolishness Theme Icon
...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... (full context)