This occurs when they witness the wresting match in which Orlando defeats Charles. When the Duke learns that the unknown challenger is the son of Sir Rowland, a former enemy, he brusquely departs; the two cousins compliment him on his success, Rosalind in particular as Sir Rowland had been a friend of her father. Orlando immediately falls in love with Rosalind. Rosalind tells Celia that she has fallen in love with Orlando. The Duke enters and banishes Rosalind for alleged disloyalty but actually because she is so popular, and thus an annoyance and a threat. Celia, who has pleaded against her father’s decision in vain, determines to accompany her cousin in exile, suggesting that they disguise themselves in humble clothes. Rosalind has the idea of dressing as a man. Together they decide to journey to the Forest of Arden in search of Rosalind’s father, taking with them the court jester Touchstone for comfort and support.

Act II

In conversation with the lords in the Forest of Arden, where most of this act and the rest of play is set, the exiled Duke Senior extols the virtues of life away from the court. They then discuss the attitudes of the melancholy Jacques (one of their party) and the Duke sets our to find him. This stoic praising of the virtues of the Forest of Arden in preference to life at the court is central to the debate about values contained within the action of the play. The forest is not, however, a wholly ideal state. Those within it are still subject to "the penalty of Adam" (II.1.5) i.e. seasonal change. However, the Duke still finds nature to be an uplifting source of moral teaching. Jacques continues this moralising more melodramatically when he speaks of killing a deer. His speech serves as a reminder that life in the forest is not a paradise - in the classical 'Golden Age', nature provided food for man unbidden without the need to kill. As the melancholy character in a romantic comedy, his ‘humour’ is a little out of place, and there are hints that some of the other courtiers laugh at his determined sadness.

Back at court, Duke Frederick having discovered their absence, sends for Oliver to help him find Celia and Rosalind, whom he believes to be in the company of Orlando. Adam warns Orlando of a plot against his life by Oliver and together they leave his house. This shows a moving example of true loyalty and service in the reciprocated feeling and concern Adam feels for Orlando.

In the forest, Rosalind, disguised as Ganymede, and Celia, disguised as Aleina, overhear the young shepherd Silvius talking to the aged Corin of his love for Phebe. Celia bids Touchstone to solicit food from Corin. He says they can offer little food as they work for a mean master who is about to sell their flocks and livelihoods. The women make arrangements for Corin to buy his master’s pasture, flock and cottage, where they propose to live. Thus, what might have been a purely pastoral interlude is modified by two factors - the bawdy and very unromantic perspective of Touchstone and the realistic presentation of Corin’s economic situation.

The Duke’s musician Amiens sings a song "Under a greenwood tree" in the company of Jacques, which praises the life of nature, free from ambition, sustaining the pastoral note and idyllic associations of life in the Forest of Arden. However, Jacques’ conversation and his own verse mocking those who leave wealth and ease strikes am contrary note just as the clowning of Touchstone stops the theme of romantic love from being over-saccharine. A balance of attitudes is therefore being perpetually struck throughout the play, which seldom falls unambiguously into one view.

In another part of the forest, Orlando comforts the weary Adam and promises to bring him food. This introduces a new perspective on forest life - as inhospitable to strangers, a wild and deserted place where the even the air is "bleak" (II.6.14). In this setting, Orlando’s decent humanity shines through.

As the Duke is about to eat, Jacques rushes in to tell of his meeting with a fool in the forest (Touchstone). Orlando enters abruptly demanding food. The Duke treats him gently; Orlando apologises, pleading necessity. Jacques delivers his great "All the world’s a stage" speech. Amiens sings a song, "Blow, blow, thou winter wind". The Duke is pleased to discover the identity of Orlando whom he welcomes into his "court".

  By PanEris using Melati.

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