Study Guide

As You Like It Act 1, Scene 2

By William Shakespeare

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Act 1, Scene 2

Read the full text of As You Like It Act 1 Scene 2 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • At Duke Frederick's court, we meet Celia and Rosalind. Rosalind is a little miffed that her father, Duke Senior, has been banished by Duke Frederick (her uncle and Celia's dad).
  • Celia suggests that Rosalind change her perspective and think of Duke Frederick as her new daddy. After all, that's what she would do if it had been her father that had been banished instead. All that really matters is that Celia and Rosalind get to stay together, right? 
  • Rosalind says okay. She'll try to forget about her family situation and focus on Celia's instead. 
  • The girls decide to distract themselves with frippery, so they talk about love and Fortune (as in, the goddess). Celia says Fortune gets a lot of stuff backwards, particularly when it comes to women. The women she makes pretty, she also makes promiscuous, and the ones she makes chaste, she makes ugly.
  • Rosalind says that Celia is mixing up Fortune and nature, and the two girls debate the point until the court fool, Touchstone interrupts them.
  • Touchstone says Celia's dad wants to talk to her.
  • Touchstone banters with the girls until he hits a sensitive subject—Rosalind's banished father, Duke Senior.
  • Celia tells him to pipe down or he'll be whipped.
  • Le Beau, a courtier of Duke Frederick, comes in to tell the women that Charles (remember the court wrestler?) has just fought three strong brothers and in general leaves broken ribs scattered in his wake. The next wrestling match, Charles vs. Orlando, is about to go down right where the women are standing, in case they'd like to stay and watch the carnage.
  • Duke Frederick enters and tries to get the girls to convince young Orlando not to fight, as he's terribly outmatched.
  • The girls, like everyone else, think Orlando looks too young for the match. They plead with Orlando and tell him they'll happily intervene on his part to get the match called off.
  • But Orlando charms them with a speech about having nothing to lose and asks that instead of trying to stop him, they wish him luck. So...they do. 
  • Big, bad Charles shows up and is ready to rumble.
  • Shockingly, Orlando easily beats Charles, who can't even speak when he's carried off in a stretcher.
  • Duke Frederick is impressed with Orlando...until he finds out the boy is son of one of his enemies, Sir Rowland de Boys.
  • Rosalind says she's glad that Orlando is a member of the de Boys family. Turns out that Orlando's dad, Sir Rowland, was pals with her banished father, Duke Senior (also an enemy of Duke Frederick).
  • Celia and Rosalind congratulate Orlando; Rosalind, nursing a crush, gives Orlando her necklace as a token of her affection.
  • Rosalind and Orlando make googly eyes at each other (cue the sappy music) before they go their separate ways.
  • Le Beau warns Orlando that the Duke is in a bad mood and might harm Orlando if he sticks around. Orlando asks about the ladies he's just met, and learns that Rosalind is Duke Senior's daughter.
  • Le Beau also says that Duke Frederick, who has been keeping Rosalind at his house, has become weary of the fact that everyone keeps praising her virtue and pitying her because of her banished dad. Le Beau suggests that Duke Senior's probably going to lose it on Rosalind soon enough.
  • Orlando laments the fact that he's surrounded by megolomaniacs as he leaves the temperamental Duke to head home to his scheming brother. Still...that Rosalind is something else. 

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