Act II, Scene 5
Amiens sings a gentle song about enjoying nature and singing. When the song is finished, Jaques begs for more. Amiens is hesitant to oblongs because he has been singing for awhile and his voice is hoarse. Jacques doesn’t care. He wants to hear music, he doesn’t care what the song is.
Amiens informs Jaques that the Duke was looking for him. It turns out that Jaques has been actively avoiding him.
Amiens sings another verse of his song. Then, Jaques has Amiens sing a song he wrote himself about the Duke and the fools who followed him into the woods. Amiens doesn’t recognize a Greek word that means to gather around in a circle. Jaques goes off to sleep or contemplate.
Act II, Scene 6
Adam is close to death from hunger and exhaustion. Orlando swears to bring him food and find him shelter. He tells Adam not to die until he returns, or else make a mockery of Orlando’s efforts.
Act II, Scene 7
The Duke wants to see Jaques, but oddly seems to keep missing him. Fortunately, Jaques is approaching at that moment and he’s actually happy. Jaques ran into a fool in the woods who was railing against Fortune and commenting oddly on the time. Jaques found the whole thing quite hilarious. The Duke asks what the fool was like and Jaques explains that he was apparently a courtier, but he is so weary from his travels that he wasn’t making much sense.
Jaques wishes he could be a fool with a motley coat. The Duke promises to give him such a coat. Jaques insists though that everyone forget that he is wise, so he can go throughout the world as he pleases, spreading his foolishness. The Duke doubts his motives. Jaques insists he would only spread good foolery, but the Duke thinks he would spread mischief. Jaques doesn’t think the Duke has any room to talk. Anyway, Jacques will keep his speeches broad, so no one in particular is offended.
Orlando busts onto the scene, his sword drawn, demanding food. Everyone is taken aback by his violent demands for food, especially since they have given him no reason to be so aggressive. The Duke eventually talks him down and offers Orlando some food. Orlando apologizes for being so aggressive. He assumed the entire forest was savage. He begs their forgiveness and pity, if they have ever experienced better days. The Duke understands Orlando’s plight and offers him food again. Orlando asks that they wait just a bit longer, so he can go get Adam. The Duke obliges.
The Duke points out to Jaques that they are not the only ones experiencing hardships in these woods. This launches Jaques into the “All the world’s a stage” speech. He explains how man travels through seven stages in his life: infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, pantalone, and old age.
Orlando and Adam return. The Duke encourages them to eat as Amiens starts a song. The Duke now realizes that Orlando is Sir Rowland’s son and welcomes him even more heartily because he was so close with Orlando’s father.
Act III, Scene 1
Duke Frederick demands that Oliver find his brother. If he fails to find him within a year, Oliver is banished and the Duke will seize everything he owns. Oliver is quite distressed by this command because he doesn’t even like his brother. Even Duke Frederick thinks that Oliver hating his brother is weird and points out that maybe if Oliver had liked Orlando, Orlando wouldn’t have taken off and the Duke could have his revenge.
Act III, Scene 2
Orlando decides that the healthiest way to express his love for Rosalind is by nailing his poetry on to all the trees in the forest. He, presumably, runs off to do just that.
Corin and Touchstone walk by. Corin asks Touchstone how he likes the country life. Touchstone likes and hates this life in equal measure. Corin philosophizes that it is no good to seek only money and property because friends mean much more. He goes on to say that he thinks of things simply and that those that complain of a lack of wit are dull people.
Touchstone changes the subject by asserting that Corin is damned because he does not have the virtuous habits of the court. Corin argues that the habits suitable for court are silly to have in the country. Touchstone tries to keep arguing, but Corin summarizes his life simply by saying he isn’t jealous of any other man and his best joy in life is the raising of new sheep. Touchstone thinks it’s gross to rely on sheep sex for a living. Corin doesn’t even respond to that comment because Rosalind (as Ganymede) is coming.
She is reading one of Orlando’s poems about her. Touchstone doesn’t think it’s very good and he proves it by writing one with “better” rhymes. Rosalind explains that she found it on a tree. Touchstone comments that the tree yields bad fruit. Rosalind essentially tells him to eat it. Celia comes along reading another poem. Rosalind is, of course, flattered. Celia sends the men off, so the girls can chat about these juicy love poems.
Celia explains that she saw the person who was writing these poems. Rosalind begs to know. She hints it is Orlando, but Rosalind is hesitant to believe her. It is just too big of a coincidence that they would both be in the same forest at the same time. And, she’s dressed like a man! Celia teases her a bit longer before confirming that it was indeed Orlando. Rosalind rapid fire asks about five questions and then demands a single word answer. Celia can’t manage that, so Rosalind tempers her expectations. Celia tries to tell Rosalind how she saw Orlando under a tree, dressed like a hunter, but Rosalind keeps interrupting so she can’t finish.
Orlando and Jaques come walking by, both expressing their desire to see less of each other. Jaques asks that Orlando stop marring the perfectly good trees with his silly love poems. Orlando asks Jaques to stop being so harsh on his sweet poems. Jaques decides that he doesn’t like the name Rosalind. Orlando doesn’t really care what he thinks. Jaques starts asking more questions and Orlando gives mushy, non-answers.
Jaques thinks Orlando is funny again and wants to spend more time with him. Orlando would rather not. Jaques takes offense and explains he was looking for a fool when he found Orlando. Orlando says the fool has drowned in the stream and if Jaques would only look in, he would find the fool. Jaques only sees his own reflection…because Jaques is the fool. With that solid burn, Jaques leaves.
Rosalind approaches as Ganymede and asks what the clock says. Orlando decides to explain to this perfect stranger that he should ask what time it is because there is no clock in forest. Rosalind says then there must not be a lover in the forest because his sighs would mark the minutes and his groans the hour just as well as any clock marks the slow passage of Time. Orlando thinks time is swift. Rosalind explains that Time passes differently for different people. It trots for the maid waiting for her wedding day. It ambles for the priest without Latin or the rich man without gout, and it gallops for the thief waiting to be hanged. Time stays still for the vacationing lawyer.
Orlando asks where Ganymede is staying. Rosalind pretends to being staying with her (his) sister (Celia), a shepherdess. Orlando assumes that Ganymede can’t be from the forest because his accent is too fine. Rosalind explains this away by saying he was taught by a religious uncle. This uncle also taught Ganymede about how awful women are. Orlando tries to figure out what is so awful about women, but Ganymede refuses.
Rosalind (Ganymede) takes the opportunity to rail against the crazy person defiling the forest and the name of Rosalind. He wants to counsel the poor thing on the horrors of love. Orlando says he is the one in love. Rosalind can’t believe that because someone in love is unkempt from pure longing, but Orlando is all clean and put together. Orlando insists he is the one in love. Unfortunately, the only way to cure someone so love struck is to pretend that Ganymede is Rosalind and woo him. Ganymede will then be a terror of a woman and change his mood and mind constantly. Orlando insists he doesn’t want to be cured, but decides to go along with the plan anyway.
Act III, Scene 3
Touchstone is musing on the time he is spending with Audrey and her goats, while Jaques makes snide comments in the background. First, Touchstone asks if she likes his features, which she does.He compares himself to the poet Ovid and Jaques scoffs at the idea. Touchstone laments the fact that his companion is not poetical and therefore can’t truly appreciate his wit.
Audrey doesn’t know what poetical means, so she asks if poetry is honest and true. Touchstone admits that it is not. In fact, the very best poems are the ones that are the least straightforward. It is why lovers gravitate toward poems. Audrey asks why then he would want the gods to make her poetical and not honest. Touchstone thinks that beauty and honesty together is simply too sweet. Jaques finds Touchstone to be rather foolish.
Audrey knows she is not particularly beautiful and so she prays the gods make her honest. Touchstone thinks that giving honesty to a slut is a waste of time. Audrey takes offense at being called a slut. Touchstone praises Audrey and hopes sluttiness (sexy times) comes later because he has been talking to the vicar and wants to marry Audrey. Jaques wants to see that and Audrey is overjoyed. Touchstone, likewise, can’t wait to get married because to be married is to make a man rich. (His speech is longer and filled with a double entendre about horns)
The vicar comes in and insists that he cannot marry the couple if there is no one there to give Audrey away. Jaques graciously steps forward for this role. Touchstone is very glad to see Jaques. Jaques asks if he is sure about getting married, which he is very sure of. Jaques then tells him that a man of Touchstone’s standing should be married in a church where a priest can properly explain the ins and outs of marriage. Touchstone reveals that he is just settling for Audrey and a bad marriage would be a reason to leave his wife. Jaques offers some counsel and leads the “happy” couple away. It apparently makes no difference to the vicar.
Act III, Scene 4
Rosalind doesn’t want to talk about Orlando, she’s too upset. Celia comforts her friends by smearing Orlando’s hair and kisses. Rosalind then switches gears and starts praising Orlando, which Celia now agrees with. Rosalind wonders why he doesn’t come like he said he would. Celia assumes it’s because he is dishonest, not dishonest like a thief, but not someone in love. Rosalind points out that he swore to being in love. Celia points out that he said that in the past and might feel different now because promises of love change on a whim.
The subject briefly changes to the Duke, who apparently didn’t recognize Rosalind, but they quickly get back to Orlando. Corin comes in to end the topic of Orlando for good. He tells Rosalind and Celia to come watch the crazy shenanigans of the shepherd they heard pining for love and the shepherdess who doesn’t like him that way.
Act III, Scene 5
Silvius begs Phebe not to scorn his love because by scorning him, she kills him with her eyes. Phebe asks to see the wounds her eyes have caused. These, of course, are the metaphorical wounds of Cupid’s arrows. Phebe isn’t buying it and tells Silvius to leave her alone.
Rosalind interjects to tell Phebe that she is being stuck up and doesn’t have the looks to get away with such a bad attitude. Phebe looks on Rosalind (Ganymede) with affection. Rosalind tells her to stop that. Then, she turns to Silvius and tells him to stop following Phebe around like a sad puppy because he’s too good for her. He builds her up and she tears him down. She tells Phebe to get on her knees and thank God she has the love of a good man,
Phebe has the hots for Rosalind (Ganymede). Rosalind is having none of that. She decides to give Phebe a taste of her own medicine, but replace Phebe’s scornful looks with bitter words. She tells Phebe that she doesn’t like her that way and never will and that the shepherdess should love the shepherd. Rosalind tells Celia it’s time to go.
Apparently Rosalind got through to Phebe because she agrees to stop being so mean to Silvius. In fact, she may even start to love him. This, obviously, makes Silvius very happy. Phebe then remarks on the contrary nature of Ganymede. His words were mean, but his face and eyes kind. One might even say there were some womanly aspects to his character. Phebe doesn’t love him, but she doesn’t hate him, even though she should because he was so mean. She decides to write him a taunting letter and have Silvius deliver it.