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Rosalind, natural by nature, enjoys her life in the forest; her days are filled with sunshine and laughter. When she sees the love verses hanging in the trees and learns that Orlando has written them about her, she is delighted that he cares; but she is also concerned about the fact that she is disguised as a young man. The quick-witted Rosalind comes up with a plan to be wooed by Orlando, even though she is in disguise. She promises to cure Orlando's love-sickness; he must pretend that Ganymede is really Rosalind so he can practice winning her love. He agrees to the plan, fully unaware that he is really wooing his own true love.
With the same kind of cleverness and manipulation, Rosalind also presents herself to Orlando at the appropriate time. She also masterminds her marriage, as well as the marriage of Phebe and Silvius, proving she is a totally clever young lady. Endowed with beauty, charm, wit, and deep emotion, Rosalind certainly emerges as the heroine of the play.
Celia, the daughter of Duke Frederick and cousin of Rosalind, is the other major female character in the play. Like Rosalind, she is a likable, fine, charming, and witty, but she pales in comparison to her cousin; however, there is not an ounce of jealousy in her. She truly cares for Rosalind. In fact, she goes into exile with her, standing up to her villainous father. During her exile in the forest, Celia disguises herself as a poor young girl named Aliena.
Like Rosalind's love for Orlando, Celia's love for the reformed Oliver is spontaneous. Since she is disguised as a female, Oliver is free to pursue her, and "Aliena" submits. Much to Rosalind's surprise, she accepts Oliver's offer for marriage. Orlando cannot believe that "on so little acquaintance" the two of them will be wed and that Oliver will remain in the forest to live with Aliena forever.
When Celia takes off her disguise at the gathering in the forest, Oliver is delighted to learn that the woman he loves is not really a poor forest girl. He is now even more eager to marry her. The two of them wed at the same time that Rosalind marries Orlando and Touchstone marries Audrey.
Although Celia's role is secondary to Rosalind's role throughout the play, she clearly emerges as a charming, witty, intelligent, devoted, and delightful young lady and companion to Rosalind. Duke Senior
Duke Senior is Rosalind's father and one of the protagonists of the play. He is living in exile in the Forest of Arden because he was banished by his younger brother, Duke Frederick, who also stole his dukedom. Although he misses his daughter, he enjoys the freedom of the forest and sees himself as a Robin Hood with a merry band of lords surrounding him. Although he lives a more natural life in Arden, the duke is a product of his courtly upbringing. When Orlando comes, with sword drawn, demanding food for his servant, Duke Senior lectures him about common courtesy. He also shows that he is a generous man, for he willing shares his meal; he tells Orlando to bring Adam to dinner to eat his fill.
At the end of the play, everything turns out well for Duke Senior. He is delighted to be reunited with Rosalind and gives his blessings on her marriage to Orlando. He is also delighted to learn that his brother, Duke Frederick, has had a moral conversion and that he will be given back his dukedom. Although he has enjoyed his exile in the forest, he looks forward to returning to court.