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Passage Commentary: As You Like It Essay


Passage Commentary #1

Act 2 (Scene VII)

Pages 75 77

Lines 88 135

In the passage stated above, context wise, Orlando enters the scene prone and ready to attack with his sword drawn at a point where the Duke Senior, Jacques, and lords are preparing to eat food. Orlando immediately orders all to stop eating for which the duke and his lords do so. Orlando had entered the woods with his older brothers (Olivers) servant, Adam. However, due to two weak evils (Adam was quite an old and weary man. This could also be a reference to the punishment passed out on all humans due to the sins committed by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, seeing as how both Hunger and Age weaken us, eventually leading to our deaths), Adam was unable to continue which forced Orlando to leave Adams side in search of food.

However, Jacques, in a joking manner, questions his reasoning for such an order. Jacques, not scared of Orlandos state or the weapon he wields, fails to take Orlando seriously which does not seem to help the issue at hand. Moreover, he taunts and mocks him as seen throughout this part of the play by saying that he does not have much to boast about, in his comment Of what kind should this cock come of?.

Conversely however, neither frightened nor pleased, surprised at best, Duke Senior does take him seriously and tries to reason with the overly-excited, somewhat agitated, Orlando. Duke Senior tried to attribute his agitation and state of mind to either due to a lot of stress he is under or Orlando just seems to lack good manners by asking Orlando himself Art thou thus boldened, man, by thy distress, or else a rude despiser of good manners, that in civility thou seemst so empty? On this note, it is quite interesting to see that even in the Forest of Arden, which they are currently in, a place often considered wild and uncivilized (in chaos), that Duke Senior talks about Order and Civility. Even in a place of chaos, there can be order. This is also something Orlando seems to note, as he states I thought all things had been savage here.

Although Jacques continues speaking to Orlando in a provocative manner, Duke Seniors calm, polite and patient manner proved to be much more effective as opposed to Jacques approach to the matter. Duke Senior patiently allows Orlando to speak and is quite understanding of his situation with Adam and offers Orlando with food and agreed not to start eating, until he returned with his travelling companion, Adam.

In this selected passage, it gives the reader a view into what Orlando seems to see the world and people around him; as being savage, filled with greed and unreasonable (attributed to the reason he entered with his sword drawn). Accustomed to disrespect and aggression (self evident fact as he was willing to kill for food) by his older brother, Oliver, Orlando took this to be no different; that is up until he came across Duke Senior. After meeting Duke Senior, Orlando seems to have changed his view and opinion that not all things are indeed savage.

Word Count: 535 Words

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