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and Source of
As You Like It belongs to the same period in Shake- Date of Play speare's life as Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night, Plot. and was written somewhere between 1598 and 1600, probably in 1599. Its source, so far as it is derived, is Lodge's novel, Rosalind or Euphues' Golden Legacy, or possibly some drama founded on that novel. But the borrowing from Lodge consists chiefly in incidents and names, the characterization being entirely Shakespeare's, and Jaques, the Clown, and Audrey his own creations.
An old knight, Sir Rowland de Boys, dies, leaving Outline of behind him three sons, Oliver, Jaques, and Orlando ; and Play by his will entrusts to the eldest the care and education of his two younger brothers. In the case of the former of these two, Oliver obeys his father's behests; but the latter, towards whom he has without cause conceived a violent hatred, he treats with every indignity, associating him with his menials and refusing him all proper education. As Orlando grows to manhood, his spirit rebels against the long-endured injustice, and in the opening scene he demands of his brother the inheritance bequeathed him by his father, with liberty to seek his fortune in the world. A violent quarrel is the result, and
Orlando seizing Oliver by the throat, compels him to listen to the just reproaches with which he brands his unbrotherly conduct. Cowed by this unexpected rebellion against his authority, Oliver determines to get rid of his brother by treachery. A ready means, as he thinks, is to be found in secretly encouraging Orlando in a desire he has formed to take part in a wrestling match to be held the next day at the neighbouring court of a Duke who has usurped the title and possessions of an elder brother. At this tournament Charles, the Duke's champion wrestler, engages to meet all comers; and, as it happens, hearing that Orlando proposes to enter the lists, now presents himself before Oliver, urging him to dissuade his brother from so rash an encounter. So far from listening to the wrestler's suggestion, Oliver freely discloses to him that he would be only too glad if his brother got his neck broken for his pains. When, the next day, the wrestling is going forward, but before Orlando has entered to challenge Charles, we are intro. duced to Rosalind, daughter of the banished Duke, and Celia, daughter of the usurping brother. To them, seated on the lawn before the ducal palace, there comes ano old courtier, Monsieur Le Beau, with the news that the contests are to be transferred to the spot they now occupy; and after some hesitation they determine to remain and witness the result. On the appearance of Orlando as challenger, Rosalind and Celia, attracted by his youth and bearing, endeavour by every means to dissuade him from so hazardous a venture. Orlando, however, though much flattered by their interest in him, declines to withdraw from his challenge. The wrestling therefore proceeds, and to the astonishment of all Or