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

Summary

Oliver and Orlando (with a bandaged arm) are seated on a bank. Oliver tells his brother about his love for Aliena (Celia). Orlando is surprised at the suddenness of Oliver's emotions. Oliver tries to convince him of the seriousness of his love. He will hand over all the family property to Orlando, marry Aliena, and live forever in the forest with her.

When Ganymede arrives, Oliver greets him as "fair sister" and departs. Orlando tells the youth about Oliver's love for Aliena and reveals that Oliver is planning on marrying her the next day. Ganymede compares the suddenness of Oliver's emotions to the rapidity of Caesar, who "came, saw, and conquered." As he talks of his brother's impending marriage, Orlando expresses his longing to be united with Rosalind. Ganymede says that he can still play the part of Rosalind, but Orlando declines; he says, "I can live no longer by thinking." A clever Ganymede then claims to have trained with a magician since childhood. He promises to use his magic and produce the real Rosalind tomorrow. If Orlando finds that he still loves her, he can marry Rosalind at the same time that Oliver weds Aliena. Ganymede tells him to wear his best clothes the next day and be prepared for a wedding.

Silvius and Phebe enter. She is angry that Ganymede has read her letter to Silvius. Ganymede reminds her that Silvius is a much better choice of husband than he is and again suggests that Phebe reciprocate Silvius' love. Phebe insists that she loves only Ganymede, but he responds that he loves no woman.

Before the couple departs, Ganymede asks them to come to the forest the next day for a meeting, suggesting that Silvius may be able to marry Phebe at that time. Ganymede then turns to Phebe and makes her promise to marry Silvius if she finds a reason not to marry Ganymede. Phebe, thinking nothing will change her mind about Ganymede, agrees to the proposal.

Notes

The suddenness of Oliver's love for Aliena (Celia) surprises both Orlando and Rosalind; but they are both convinced that it is true love, for Oliver has agreed to give up his fortune and live in the forest with Aliena forever. It is ironic that Orlando and Rosalind should be surprised, for both of them fell in love with each other after only one meeting

Rosalind begins to work her magic in this scene to bring everyone together. After hearing that Oliver will wed Aliena the next day, she plans for several other people to be united at the same time. First she offers to produce Rosalind through her magician's power so that Orlando may marry her. Next she makes Phebe promise to marry Silvius if she finds a reason not to marry Ganymede; of course, Phebe will not want to marry "him" when she finds out Ganymede is a "her."

It is important to notice that Oliver calls Rosalind "fair sister," even though she is still disguised as the young man, Ganymede. Most critics believe that Oliver uses this greeting because he has seen through Rosalind's disguise. It is also possible that since Ganymede is playing Rosalind, Oliver addresses her as sister simply to humor both Ganymede and Orlando. It is also important to see the humor behind Ganymede's statement that he loves "no woman." Obviously, Rosalind is referencing the fact that as a female herself, she does not love another woman. However, the original Ganymede was homosexual and loved only men, "no women." Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version


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