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MonkeyNotes-As You Like It by William Shakespeare
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Act IV, Scene 1

Summary

This scene is set in a clearing in the forest. Jaques and Rosalind (still disguised as Ganymede) are arguing about his melancholic attitude. He insists that his melancholy is special, not the "melancholy of a scholar's, which is emulation; nor the musician's, which is fantastical; nor the courtier's, which is proud; nor the soldier's, which is ambitious; nor the lawyer's which is politic; nor the lady's which is nice; nor the lover's which is all these." He further states that he has come by his melancholy through his many travels. Rosalind responds that a traveler has nothing much to show, other than rich eyes. He argues that his travels have given him a great deal of important experience. She answers that she would rather have a fool to make her merry than a man of experience to make her sad.

The banter between Rosalind and Jaques is interrupted by the arrival of Orlando, who has finally come for his appointment. When he greets Rosalind warmly, she pretends to take no note of him, acting angry about his tardiness. After Jaques leaves the scene, however, Rosalind turns to Orlando and rebukes him severely for being late. She reminds him that he should be acting like a true lover, who would never be tardy, even by a fraction of a minute, when calling on his lady love. She says he is worse than a snail, for at least a snail has an excuse for being slow, since it carries its house and its destiny on its back.

In order to practice how to woo the real Rosalind, Ganymede invites Orlando to woo "him." Ganymede inquires how Orlando would begin. He replies that he would kiss Rosalind before speaking to her. Ganymede says that he should speak first and when there is nothing else to talk about, he should then kiss Rosalind. Ganymede asks Orlando what he would do if Rosalind rejected him. Orlando replies that he would die. Rosalind contradicts him, stating that men do not die from love.

Orlando asks Ganymede if he would love him if he were Rosalind. Ganymede replies, "Ay, Twenty such." When Orlando says he is bewildered by this response, Ganymede says that one cannot "desire too much of a good thing." Ganymede then asks Celia to pretend to be a priest and conduct a mock wedding. After the exchange of vows, Ganymede, now playing the part of Rosalind, demands to know how long Orlando would have her; he responds he would love her forever. Ganymede reminds him that men and women change after they are wed; he claims that he will probably become "more jealous than a Barbary Cock Pigeon, more clamorous than a Parrot." Ganymede also claims that Rosalind will probably weep when Orlando is merry and laugh when he wants to sleep.

After a while, Orlando says he must leave to help Duke Senior at lunchtime, but he promises to return in two hours. Before he leaves, Rosalind chides him severely, saying his departure is another indication of his not being a true lover. After he leaves, Celia rebukes Rosalind for criticizing womanhood to Orlando. She apologizes and admits she is not thinking straight, for her head is filled with thoughts of true love. When he is out of sight, Rosalind says that life becomes impossible; therefore, she decides to go and chase Orlando's shadow.

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