Act One, Scene One
Orlando is in the orchard of his brother's house speaking with Adam, an old servant of the family. Orlando complains about the way his eldest brother Oliver treats him. Since Oliver is the eldest brother, he inherited all of Sir Rowland De Bois' estate as well as the responsibility for taking care of his younger brothers. Orlando is upset that he is kept away from school and forced to work with the animals at home. The see Oliver coming and Adam quickly hides. Oliver arrives and orders Orlando to do some work instead of standing idly around. Orlando spitefully tells Oliver that he has as much of their father's blood in him as Oliver does. Oliver angrily lunges at Orlando, who quickly grabs his older brother by the throat and holds him. Adam comes out of his hiding place and asks them to be patient with one another. Orlando replies that Oliver has denied him an education as befits his rank as a nobleman. He therefore asks Oliver to give him the small portion of money that Sir Rowland left him in the will (a thousand crowns) so that he may leave and seek his fortune elsewhere. Oliver agrees to give Orlando a part of his inheritance and then turns to Adam and tells him to "Get you with him, you old dog" (1.1.69). Adam is offended to be treated thus after his many years of service to the family and leaves with Orlando. Oliver meets with Charles, the Duke's wrestler, and asks what is happening at court. Charles tells him it is the same old news, namely the new Duke has banished his brother the old Duke. The old Duke left with several lords and now lives in the forest of Ardenne where "they live like the old Robin Hood of England" (1.1.100-101). Rosalind, the old Duke's daughter, has remained at court with her cousin, the new Duke's daughter. Charles then informs Oliver that he has learned that Orlando plans to challenge him the next day in the Duke's presence. Since Charles is fighting for his reputation, he indicates that he might end up hurting Orlando and he hopes that Oliver can dissuade his brother from challenging. Oliver cruelly tells Charles that Orlando has been plotting against his life, and that if Charles defeats Orlando but does not seriously injure him then Orlando will likely plot against him as well. Charles promises to hurt Orlando as much as possible, to the point where he cannot walk anymore. Act One, Scene Two
Rosalind is saddened by the banishment of her father and Celia is trying to cheer her up. Celia urges her cousin to be happier and promises that she will always treat her with affection even though their roles in the world were reversed when Duke Frederickusurped Duke Senior's position. Rosalind agrees to try and be happy and proposes playing games such as pretending to fall in love. Touchstone, a clown, enters and cuts their conversation short. He tells Celia that her father wants to see her. She makes him provide some witty entertainment, playing with words until he states, "The more pity that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly" (1.2.72-73). Le Beau, a courtier to Duke Frederick, arrives and the two women joke that he will force them to listen to news. Le Beau is greeted by Celia in French. He tries to tell them about a wrestling match but Touchstone and the women start to joke around with words again, causing him to lose track of the conversation. Le Beau finally is allowed to speak, and he tells them that Charles wrestled with three brothers and beat each of them in turn. The father, having seen all his sons defeated, is mourning their loss and the fact that the eldest broke three ribs in the process. He finally mentions to the women that if they stay where they are they will be able to watch the next match since it was appointed at this particular spot. They happily agree to stay and watch. Duke Frederick enters, telling his men that Orlando will not be dissuaded from wrestling with Charles and therefore deserves to suffer his fate. Rosalind interrupts...
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