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MonkeyNotes-As You Like It by William Shakespeare
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Act IV, Scene 2

Summary

The scene is again set near the cave of Duke Senior, where several of the lords have gathered after they have been hunting. One of them has killed a deer, and Jaques suggests that he pretend to be a Roman conqueror and present the slaughtered creature to the duke. Following Jaques' suggestion, the lord who killed the deer is raised aloft by the rest. The others sing a song that glorifies the hunter and the horns worn by him. Since a horned man is a symbol of a cuckold (a man married to an unfaithful wife), the lords are really singing in jest and merriment.

Notes

This scene is a brief one that does not advance the action of the plot; instead, it is used to fill up the time while Orlando is away and to add humor to the play. The hunters are in a jolly mood and sing a racy song. Even the melancholy Jaques joins in the merriment. In an earlier scene, he was weeping over a wounded deer; now Jaques thinks that the hunter who killed the deer should be presented to the Duke like a victorious Roman general entering the city of Rome in triumph. He should wear the deer's horns as a symbol of his victory. The image of a horned man on stage was a source of comedy for the Elizabethans, for it symbolized a husband who was misused by his wife.

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MonkeyNotes-As You Like It by William Shakespeare
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