As You Like It: A Comedy by William Shakespeare
Act I: Scene I
Contextual Questions (Question Courtesy-Xavier Pinto)
1. Besides this nothing that he so plentifully gives me, the something that nature gave me, his countenance seems to
take from me: he lets me feed me with his hinds, bars me the place of a brother, and, as much as in him lies, mines my gentility with my education. This is it, Adam, that grieves
me; and the spirit of my father, which I think is within me, begins to mutiny against this servitude. I will no longer
endure it, though yet I know no wise remedy how to avoid it. (i) Who speaks these lines? Where does the scene take place? Who else is present at the scene? Orlando, the brave and chivalrous hero of the drama and the victim of the tyranny of his elder brother, speaks these lines. The opening scene takes place in an orchard near Oliver’s house. Adam, an old servant of Sir Rowland, Oliver, the malicious, eldest son of Sir Rowland de Boys, Dennis, Oliver’s servant, and Charles, Duke Frederick’s wrestler, are present at the scene. (ii) Who is ‘he’ referred to in the extract? What injustice has he done to the speaker as far his inheritance and education is concerned? In the extract, ‘he’ refers to Oliver, the unnatural brother of Orlando who hates him (Orlando) for his outstanding qualities. Oliver has not only deprived Orlando of a gentleman’s upbringing as he (Oliver) should have done as his father’s will dictated him but has also purposely desisted from sending him to school. (iii) What is said about the speaker’s father? How is the younger brother of the speaker better off than him? It is said that Orlando’s father Sir Rowland de Boys is dead and that he entrusted Oliver, his eldest son to bring up all his children including Orlando as befitting to the members of the nobility. The younger brother of Orlando, Jaques is better off than the former in the sense that arrangements have been made by Oliver for his education whereas Orlando is...
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