As You Like It
Transformation Quotes Page 3
How we cite our quotes:
Duke Frederick, hearing how that every day
Men of great worth resorted to this forest,
Address'd a mighty power; which were on foot,
In his own conduct, purposely to take
His brother here and put him to the sword:
And to the skirts of this wild wood he came;
Where meeting with an old religious man,
After some question with him, was converted
Both from his enterprise and from the world,
His crown bequeathing to his banish'd brother,
And all their lands restored to them again
That were with him exiled. This to be true,
I do engage my life. (5.4.1)
This news confirms something we already know – the Forest of Arden is capable of "convert[ing]" any person who steps foot in the woods. In Duke Frederick's case, merely entering the edge or "skirts of this wild wood" coincides with a sudden and miraculous transformation. After talking with some random "religious man," Frederick changes his evil ways and gives his dukedom back to his brother. What's even more interesting is the fact that Duke Frederick's conversion mirrors bad-brother Oliver's sudden transformation. (See 4.3.10)
First, in this forest, let us do those ends
That here were well begun and well begot:
And after, every of this happy number
That have endured shrewd days and nights with us
Shall share the good of our returned fortune,
According to the measure of their states.
Meantime, forget this new-fall'n dignity
And fall into our rustic revelry. (5.4.8)
Duke Frederick's conversion has a major social impact. When he returns the dukedom to his older brother, Frederick makes it possible for Duke Senior, Rosalind, and Orlando to return to court, where they will (presumably) transform the once treacherous court into a more civilized place.
ROSALIND [To DUKE]
To you I give myself, for I am yours.
[To ORLANDO] To you I give myself, for I am yours. (5.4.7)
Rosalind has removed her "Ganymede" disguise and is now ready to marry Orlando. Still, we have to wonder: Is Rosalind's transformation from "Ganymede" back to Rosalind a change for the better? It seems like she's now undergone the obvious transformation from a young man to a marriageable woman. The more potent transition, though, is her change from the state of freedom to some tied-down-relationships. Throughout the entire play, Rosalind has been a fairly independent woman, managing on her own with Celia. This very formal "giving over" of herself to husband and father seems a transformation – maybe even a reversion – of the lively and strong-willed, whip-tongued Rosalind we have come to know in the forest.