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Characters

Oliver Timeline and Summary

  • 1.1: Oliver approaches Orlando, who has been chatting with Adam, the family servant. Oliver asks Orlando what he's been making, which means "what are you doing?" or possibly "how's it hangin'?"
  • 1.1: Orlando plays on the meaning of "making," and says he hasn't been taught to make anything. Oliver, undeterred, asks what he's been marring (or destroying, as Orlando hasn't been making anything).
  • 1.1: Oliver responds that Orlando should spend his time more wisely than his current idling about, and basically tells him to go to hell.
  • 1.1: As Orlando goes on about his poor condition at Oliver's hand, Oliver asks if he knows where he is and to whom he's talking, essentially saying, "I'm kind of a big deal."
  • 1.1: As Orlando continues to be saucy by claiming he has as much of his father in him as his brother does, Oliver gets upset. He hits Orlando and, when his brother fights back, he calls him a villain for laying hands on him. He demands that Orlando let him go.
  • 1.1: As Orlando asks for his portion of inheritance so he can leave, Oliver asks just what he plans to do. He says perhaps Orlando will beg after his inheritance is spent. Oliver promises he won't be bothered by his brother for long, ominously saying Orlando will get what's coming to him. Oliver asks Orlando to leave him alone.
  • 1.1: Oliver bids Adam, the faithful old servant, to go with Orlando, calling him an "old dog."
  • 1.1: Once Orlando and Adam have left, Oliver notes that Orlando is getting too big for his britches. Oliver declares that he'll cure Orlando of his bad attitude, and won't give him his portion of the inheritance either.
  • 1.1: Oliver calls in his servant, Dennis. He asks Dennis to call in Charles, the Duke's wrestler, who had come to see Oliver. As Dennis leaves to get Charles, Oliver cryptically says that that the wrestling will be a good way, and we all wonder, "a good way to do what?"
  • 1.1: Oliver greets Charles warmly and asks for the news at court. He hears about the scandal of Duke Frederick unseating Duke Senior. Oliver asks if Rosalind will be banished with her father and wonders where her father will go.
  • 1.1: Oliver asks whether Charles will wrestle tomorrow before Duke Frederick.
  • 1.1: Charles says he will wrestle tomorrow, and that's exactly what he came to see Oliver about. Charles has heard that Orlando intends to challenge him at wrestling and, worrying that Orlando is but a little slip of a thing, Charles really doesn't want to have to crush him to a pulp. Charles came hoping to get Oliver to dissuade Orlando from fighting. Hearing all of this, Oliver says he's grateful for Charles's love to him and will reward it well. Oliver then lies, saying that he has already tried to dissuade his brother from fighting. Oliver also says his brother wouldn't be swayed, as he's the most stubborn boy in all of France. Oliver then says all sorts of nasty (and seemingly untrue) things about Orlando. He claims that Orlando is ambitious, envious, and constantly plotting against Oliver, even though he is his "natural brother." Oliver advises Charles to use his discretion, saying he would as willingly have Charles break Orlando's neck as his finger. Oliver warns Charles further, saying that, if Orlando's done any disgrace by Charles, he won't stop until he's done some great harm to Charles in return, including but not limited to poison, entrapment, and leading Charles to suicide. Oliver claims it hurts his heart to say it, but Orlando is the most villainous youth alive, and possibly the most villainous ever. Oliver adds that these nasty descriptions are actually softened because he's Orlando's brother. If he told Charles about the real Orlando, it would make him weep and Charles pee in his pants. (We know, of course, that none of this is true, and that Oliver is the real villain.)
  • 1.1: Yet, in case we didn't know, Oliver reveals his true intentions after Charles leaves. He says he hopes to see Orlando's end tomorrow (as he is crushed and killed by Charles, no doubt). Oliver admits that he doesn't know why, but, deep in his soul, he hates Orlando more than anything. Oliver then lists all of Orlando's good traits – he has a gentlemanly character and is smart even though he's never been to school. Orlando is noble and well-liked by all, especially those who know him best. For all these reasons, Oliver knows he's wrong to hate his brother. Still, he's got a better solution than having to deal with his feelings: he'll just have Charles kill Orlando instead. Now, all he has to do is encourage his brother to go and fight Charles.
  • 3.1: Oliver has just been berated by Duke Frederick about Orlando. The Duke demands that Oliver bring Orlando to him, dead or alive. If Oliver doesn't, Duke Frederick promises to raise hell for Oliver. Oliver responds by saying he wishes the Duke knew that Oliver never loved his brother in all his life.
  • 4.3: Oliver comes upon Celia and Rosalind/Ganymede in the forest and describes a house he's looking for (which is their house, unbeknownst to him).
  • 4.3: As Celia speaks to him, Oliver recognizes the pair as those described to him by Orlando; he realizes they are the ones he's looking for. Oliver doesn't mince words and reveals that he was told that the boy looks like a girl, and that his sister is brown and short.
  • 4.3: After Celia's confirmed that it is their house he's seeking, Oliver says he's come to bring Orlando's regards to them both. For the boy Orlando calls Rosalind, he brings a bloody handkerchief.
  • 4.3: Rosalind asks what they're supposed to think about the whole bloody handkerchief drop-off. Oliver replies they'd find his shame in it, if they knew who he was, and how, why, and where the handkerchief came to be full of blood.
  • 4.3: Celia asks if Oliver won't tell the darn story already, instead of being such a drama-queen. Oliver sums up that Orlando found a wretched and ragged man sleeping under an old oak tree. A green snake had wrapped itself around the man's neck, and was poised to bite him in the mouth. Fortunately for everyone except the hungry snake, the serpent saw Orlando coming and slithered away under a bush. Then, under the very same bush, a lioness was crouched and waiting for the sleeping man to stir (as lionesses like their prey to seem alive). Orlando saw this, went closer to the man to wake him, and saw that it was in fact his wicked brother Oliver.
  • 4.3: Celia chimes in that she'd heard of that brother, and Orlando said he was pretty vile. Oliver (knowing she's talking about him, even if she doesn't know it) says Orlando was right to call his brother vile, for even he (the story teller, the yet-to-be revealed Oliver) knows the man was vile.
  • 4.3: Rosalind, unlike the interrupting Celia, wants Oliver to continue the story, and asks whether Orlando left his wicked brother to his lioness-food fate. Oliver says that twice Orlando tried to leave, but his kindness got the better of his desire for revenge, and his nature was stronger than this opportunity to see his brother eaten by a wild creature. So, Orlando turned back and fought the lioness, quickly defeating her. The tussle of course awakened the sleeping man. Now the storyteller delivers the punch line: the sleeping man was none other than himself. That means he's Oliver. Surprise!
  • 4.3: The girls are shocked, and ask whether it was this man before them, who they now know to be Oliver, who tried so often to kill Orlando. Oliver admits it was him, but it isn't him now. He says he's not ashamed to tell them that it was him, as he's since transformed into a new (and better) man, and he feels pretty awesome about it. (It's nice to not want to murder your brother in cold blood anymore.)
  • 4.3: Rosalind yearns for Oliver to quickly explain the bloody handkerchief. Oliver says that, after he and his brother tearfully recounted how Oliver came to the forest, Orlando led him to Duke Senior. The Duke took good care of Oliver, and then gave him over to his loving brother. Orlando took Oliver back to his cave and stripped to reveal that the lioness had taken a healthy piece of Orlando's arm. It turns out that Orlando had been bleeding this whole time and just sucking it up. After revealing his wound, Orlando cried out "Rosalind!" and then fainted from blood loss. As Oliver bound up his wound, Orlando asked him to go to Rosalind/Ganymede and explain the generally stellar excuse he has for being absent.
  • 4.3: Oliver responds with tact to Rosalind/Ganymede's fainting spell. He tells Celia that many people faint when they look at blood.
  • 4.3: Yet as Rosalind/Ganymede recovers, Oliver chides him. He declares, a little incredulously, that Rosalind/Ganymede is supposed to be a man, yet he lacks a man's heart.
  • 4.3: Rosalind/Ganymede tries to assure Oliver that his fainting was all part of the act of pretending to be Rosalind, but Oliver sees right through it. He says the faint wasn't fake at all, as Rosalind/Ganymede's complexion shows real passion.
  • 4.3: Rosalind/Ganymede again assures the faint was fake. Oliver says Rosalind/Ganymede should keep faking and pretend to be a man. (He's onto something here…)
  • 4.3: As Celia invites Oliver back to her place with the fainting Rosalind/Ganymede, Oliver says he'll go with them. He says he needs to bring word back to Orlando that Rosalind excuses him. Oliver calls Rosalind/Ganymede "Rosalind" here, which either means he's playing along, or that he actually knows what's up.
  • 5.2: Orlando questions Oliver on how he could've fallen in love with Aliena (Celia) so fast. (This is how we find out Oliver and Celia have fallen in love, by the way.) Oliver asks that Orlando not consider how foolish the whole thing seems, and then lists off why it's foolish: the rashness of the decision, Aliena's poverty, the short time they've known each other, how quickly Oliver courted Aliena, and how quickly she accepted. After listing that all off, Oliver asks that his brother ignore these concerns and simply give him and Aliena (Celia) his blessing. He points out that it will be to Orlando's advantage to give his blessing: if Oliver marries Aliena, he'll give up their father's estate and money to Orlando and live in the forest as a poor shepherd with his love. (Ah, l'amour.)
  • 5.2: Oliver's last line in the play is cheeky; Rosalind/Ganymede enters to tend to Orlando and, as Oliver is leaving, Rosalind/Ganymede says a polite "God save you, brother." Oliver responds with "And you, fair sister," possibly playing along with Orlando and Rosalind/Ganymede's pretend game, possibly outing Rosalind/Ganymede as a woman.
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