Study Guide

As You Like It Act 3, Scene 2

By William Shakespeare

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Act 3, Scene 2

Read the full text of As You Like It Act 3 Scene 2 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • Back in the forest of Arden, where the rest of the play takes place, Orlando busies himself with posting poems on the trees of the forest, all dedicated to the oh-so-dreamy Rosalind. 
  • Corin and Touchstone enter, bantering as usual.
  • Corin asks how Touchstone likes living "the shepherd's life" and the two men proceed to debate the pros and cons of country life vs. life at court.
  • Touchstone bags on country manners and calls Corin a bumpkin for never having visited the court.
  • Corin says that "those that are good manners at/ the court are as ridiculous in the country as the behavior of/ the country is most mockable at the court." (Seems like a valid point to us.)
  • As an example, Corin says that the court custom of kissing hands would be silly in the country because shepherds are always handling sheep, which are smelly and "greasy."
  • Touchstone compares shepherds to "bawds" (pimps) and says they earn a living by facilitating "the copulation of cattle."
  • Thankfully, Rosalind interrupts. She enters dressed as Ganymede and reading some of Orlando's cheesy, rhyming poetry. Here's a sample: "From the east to western Ind [Indies]/ No jewel is like Rosalind./ Her worth being mounted on the wind/ Through all the world bears Rosalind."
  • Touchstone compares Orlando's rhymes to a stream of chatty dairywomen who are on their way to market. Then he mocks Orlando's verse by making up his own rhyming poem.
  • Mimicking Orlando's simple verse, Touchstone compares Rosalind to the kind of girl you don't bring home to Mom.
  • As Touchstone teases, Celia enters, reading more terrible love poems found on the trees.
  • Rosalind agrees that the poetry is awful, and Celia, clearly seeing some girl-talk is in order, sends Touchstone off with Corin so the two girls can chat.
  • After some chitchat, it becomes clear to Celia that Rosalind hasn't figured out one important fact: The poems have obviously been written by Orlando.
  • Celia teases as Rosalind pleads and begs to know who it is that's fawning over her so foolishly (and inarticulately). On discovering that Orlando is responsible, Rosalind gushes excitedly.
  • Mostly, she is desperate to find out what Orlando's been up to, and most importantly, whether he knows she's been traipsing about the forest dressed as a boy. Also, she wants to know if he still looks as cute as he did the day he won the wrestling match.
  • Just as Celia and Rosalind are fussing with each other over love, guess who should come strolling through the forest? It's Orlando!
  • Rosalind and Celia stand off to the side and eavesdrop.
  • Orlando and Jaques are bickering. Jaques thinks Orlando is a fool of love, and Orlando suggests Jaques should…drown himself.
  • Jaques exits.
  • Seeing her chance, Rosalind (still disguised as Ganymede) decides to talk to her crush.
  • Rosalind/Ganymede ambles up and asks Orlando what time it is.
  • Orlando replies, like a genius, that there's no clock in the forest, which lets Rosalind/Ganymede launch into a dissertation about how a true lover could tell time easily—by his heart sighing every minute and groaning every hour.
  • Then she proposes that time seems to pass at different speeds for various people, complete with examples that are especially interesting for their language and thus boring to summarize. You should think about reading them.
  • Orlando asks the "boy" where he lives and Rosalind/Ganymede claims to live with his "sister," Aliena. Rosalind/Ganymede claims that though he was raised in the forest, he picked up his courtly accent from his uncle.
  • Rosalind/Ganymede complains about the idiot who has been trashing the forest with bad poetry about some girl named "Rosalind."
  • Orlando, taking the bait, admits he's the love-struck poet and asks Rosalind/Ganymede for advice.
  • Rosalind/Ganymede quips that Orlando can't possibly be in love because he lacks all of the tell-tale signs of being in love: a lean cheek, sunken eyes, neglected beard, and all manner of disheveled clothing.
  • Rosalind/Ganymede points out Orlando is so well-groomed that he's clearly enamored of himself as much as anyone else—not exactly the mark of a lovesick idiot. (So, now Rosalind/Ganymede is complimenting Orlando's appearance, which is probably as close to hitting on him as Rosalind's going to get.)
  • Orlando says he can convince Ganymede of his love for Rosalind.
  • Rosalind/Ganymede declares that s/he can cure Orlando of his lovesickness.
  • The plan unfurls. Rosalind/Ganymede claims to have cured another man of love by having the man visit him every day, to pretend the "boy" was his mistress. Rosalind/Ganymede (pretending to be the girl) abused him with all the attitude you'd only tolerate when in love. Eventually, Rosalind/Ganymede gave him so much grief that the poor guy gave up to live as a monk.
  • Orlando claims that such a tactic wouldn't cure him of his love for Rosalind, which obviously means he'll show up at Rosalind/Ganymede's house every day and pretend woo him (her) to prove it.
  • Rosalind/Ganymede, pleased at this outcome, agrees.  S/he says Orlando must call him Rosalind from now on, which is so very fitting and so very, very weird at the same time.

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