As You Like It

Orlando Character Analysis

Read our modern English translation.
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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer 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 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:
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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:

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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:
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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:

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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:

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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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[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:

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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)