Essay Example on Romance and Revolution: A Journey of Self-Discovery in 'As You Like It'

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1723 Words
Date:  2023-03-02

As You Like It is a pastoral play written by William Shakespeare and one of the best comedies of its time (Freeditorial, 2014). The play presents Orlando as a young boy full of anger because his brother did not educate him. He is ambitious and principled. The boy undergoes a series of changes in his life experience. The experiences and encounters lead to revolution and evolvement in his character. He falls in love with Rosalind, but he fails to express the desire to her. He instead chooses to use papers written love poems as a way of approaching Rosalind. However, Rosalind helps him to build his character, make him less timid and nervous, and turns him to a full-grown gentleman. Towards the end of the play, he can express love not only to Rosalind but also to his brother, who he saves from a hungry lioness. This essay aims at analyzing the evolution of Orlando's character from the period when he was an angry teenager looking for a place in the world to the point he is reunited with his brother after undergoing several hardships that shape his character. Orlando is the self-determined younger son of Sir Rowland de Boys and is a modest, brave, generous, reliable, and handsome young man. The evolution of his character throughout the play is evident. In the beginning, he was angry and wants a mutiny against his brother for denying him his late father's wishes. He wanted to receive an education to be a gentleman in the community, just like his father. The anger felt by Orlando stems from his brother's denial to abide by this wish.

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"What, boy! (strikes him)

What a nerve!

Come, come, elder brother, you are too young in this. (seizes him)

(grabbing hold of OLIVER) Come on, big brother; you don't know anything about fighting.

Wilt thou lay hands on me, villain?

What, you dare put your hands on me, villain?

I am no villain. I am the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys. He was my father, and he is thrice a villain that says such a father begot villains. Wert thou not my brother, I would not take this hand from thy throat till this other had pulled out thy tongue for saying so. Thou hast railed on thyself.

I'm no villain. I'm the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys, and anyone who claims my father's sons are villains is a villain himself. If you weren't my brother, I'd leave this hand of mine on your neck until I'd pulled out your tongue for talking like this. You've only insulted yourself.

Sweet masters, be patient. For your father's remembrance, be at accord.

Gentlemen, calm down. For the sake of your father's memory, make peace." (Freeditorial, 2014)

The overall growth or evolution can be seen from his desire to act like a gentleman through education and how he becomes a gentleman without the need for education as perceived in his community. The kind of growth experienced here can be termed as self-growth, which he realizes as he experiences several challenges and tribulations during his journey of self-realization. As time passes, he falls in love, which gives him another purpose of finding joy in his life. His ability to learn from Rosalind helps him in several ways, including how to act and behave in terms of love and general behaviors. One crucial experience that increased his self-confidence is when despite the warnings of many people; he decided to fight the toughest wrestler as a way of venting. He managed to win the fight much to the dismay of many, including his brother, who had plotted a severe beating for him. His determination to prove, especially to his brother, enables him; to win the fight. Experiences such as these allow him to realize he is a worthy and capable young man and how he can achieve anything, no matter the challenge. Orlando grows as a young man from a noble family, but his treatment is associated with that of peasants; his ability to overcome those trials and tribulations shows his perseverance. The perseverance allows him to evolve into a gentleman in the end. Orlando's growth and character development are evident when he meets Rosalind.

At the beginning of the play, Orlando is presented as a nervous character who cannot express his feeling of love. However, with the help of Rosalind, he gets a better understanding of how emotions work. He, therefore, begins to align his mind on how to express love; he knows how emotions work in reality instead of fantasy, as seen from his work on trees about his love for Rosalind. On analysis of the play, one might strongly suggest that without Rosalind, it would be hard for Orlando to evolve the way he did since Rosalind challenged him through challenging his ideologies and beliefs. Thus, he states he had learned a lot from her during their time together when they ate, laughed, cried, and rose together. In the following quotation, Orlando is feeling disappointed and angry about how his brother treats him, as well as the traditions of the society in the given period. He doesn't think that the wealth of the father should all go to the first-born son after the death of the father.

"Ay, better than him I am before knows me. I know you are my eldest brother, and in the gentle condition of blood, you should so know me. The courtesy of nations allows you my better, in that you are the first-born, but the same tradition takes not away my blood, were there twenty brothers betwixt us. I have as much of my father in me as you, albeit, I confess, your coming before me is nearer to his reverence." (Freeditorial, 2014)

Orlando's anger is what triggers Oliver to ask whether Orlando is going to strike him. Orlando's anger is justified because his brother refuses to support his living and education as per the instructions of their late father. The excerpt shows how Rosalind tries to justify the love that Orlando has for her by telling him that instead of writing romance poems on trees, he should learn to love her in reality by wooing her and not writing sayings that have sad meaning such as the one he wrote on how he would die without her love. The teachings help him to realize how to handle love matters. He's characters evolve, and now he is better equipped to handle issues relating to relationships and love. Therefore, Rosalind is shaping plays an essential role in character development by developing the character of Orlando to be the perfect gentleman for her. In the mind of Rosalind, reality trumps fantasy, especially the poems that Orlando wrote. The act of writing love poems in secret as opposed to facing Rosalind with the same words shows that Orlando was timid and fearful when it comes to relationships. He was emotionally afraid to face Rosalind. Thus, he was facing emotional struggles that compelled him to express his love through love letters. Therefore, a concept of emotional evolution on his character is evident from this incident. Through her guidance, one can see the development from the time he was filled with anger to a time where he does not wish to speak ill of others out of respect for them. These are the traits that are prevalent in a gentleman. Orlando evolves from being timid and nervous to being a gentleman. The following text is instrumental in showing the beginning of his growth and evolution into a fine young man.

"ROSALIND: --that I drave my suitor from his mad humor of love to a living humor of madness, which was to forswear the full stream of the world and to live in a nook merely monastic. And thus I cured him, and this way will I take upon me to wash your liver as clean as a sound sheep's heart...

ROSALIND: Yes, one, and this is how I did it. He had to imagine that I was the girl he was in love with. I made him woo me every day. When he did, being the changeable boy I am, I'd mope, act effeminate, switch moods, long for him, like him, be proud and standoffish, be dreamy, full of mannerisms, unpredictable, full of tears and then smiles; be passionate about everything, then nothing... I'd like him one minute and despise him the next; cry for him, then spit at him-until finally I drove love out and anger in. He abandoned the world, and hid himself away in a monastery. So I cured him, and I'll cure you just the same, leaving you as clean as a sheep's heart, without one spot of love in you.

ORLANDO: I would not be cured, youth.

ORLANDO: I don't want to be cured, boy.

ROSALIND: I would cure you if you would but call me Rosalind and come every day to my cote and woo me.

ROSALIND: I could cure you if you just called me Rosalind and came by my cottage every day to woo me.

ORLANDO: By my faith in love, I will, then. Tell me where you live." (Freeditorial, 2014)

Orlando's emotional evolution begins as he tries to explain that his love cannot be cured. His analysis of love is different from that of Rosalind; that is why she slowly guides him on what to do to have his cure for love. It is a big moment for Orlando as the pair are getting to understand each other. They both fall for one another, and express their love for each other, leading to Orlando to woo Rosalind. We clearly see the evolution of Orlando's character traits in a dilemma he faces on whether to save his brother from a hungry lioness or not. In the beginning, the two were rivals, and it was hard to foresee a time when either of the two would save the life of another. However, the act of Orlando saving his brother shows that the angry Orlando encountered at the beginning of the play is different from the Orland who saves life. The evolution in his character is emphasized by the fact that he chooses to reconcile with his brother.


Freeditorial. (2014). As you like it. William Shakespeare. Freeditorial. Retrieved from

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Essay Example on Romance and Revolution: A Journey of Self-Discovery in 'As You Like It'. (2023, Mar 02). Retrieved from

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