| Quote #1
Typically, the first lines of any Shakespearean drama alert us to one or more major themes in the play. When As You Like It opens, we learn that family betrayal is going to be a very big deal. Here, youngest son Orlando complains about the effects of primogeniture – Orlando's father has died and social practice has dictated that all of his father's wealth, land, and titles be passed on to the oldest son, Oliver. Oliver was supposed to make sure Orlando received a proper education and grew up with all the privileges and comforts of a gentleman, but Oliver treats his youngest bro more like a servant or an animal. Understandably, Orlando is ready to "mutiny."
| Quote #2
Adam is an old servant who has served the de Boys family for-e-ver. Now that Sir Rowland de Boys is dead, he answers to Oliver, even though his loyalties are more closely tied to Orlando. Here, Adam finds himself in the middle (literally) of Oliver and Orlando's big fight, which reminds us of another ancient "Adam" who was involved in the most notorious fraternal feud in the bible. In Genesis, Adam is the first man and the father of Cain, who murders his little brother, Abel. This, of course, doesn't bode well for the Oliver-Orlando situation – as we know, Oliver will later try to pull a Cain and have his brother murdered (1.1.18 and 2.3.2).
| Quote #3
Hmm. We seem to be detecting a pattern of fraternal discord here. It turns out that Duke Frederick gained power by usurping his older brother's (Duke Senior's) title. Not only that, but Duke Frederick has banished his older brother into exile. Although we're not given any explanations about Frederick's motives, we can certainly speculate. We're guessing that Duke Senior inherited his dukedom from his father because he was the eldest son, which didn't sit well with his little bro, Duke Frederick. If this is the case, then the system of primogeniture has created problems for yet another family. So, Shakespeare seems to be asking the following question: Is it OK for a younger brother to take his older brother's titles/land/wealth, etc. by force, just because he was left out of the family will? Let us know when you work that one out.