Kyle Demptser on As You Like It, Act 5

Published by admin_main on Wed 29 Sep, 2010

FINAL VERSION PENDING.

18. In Act 5, Scene 3, two young boys ("Pages") sing a song that begins "It was a lover and his lass." To what extent does this song relate to the coming resolution of the play or comment on what has gone before? Time permitting, to what degree do other songs in this play (Amiens' "Under the Greenwood Tree" and "Who doth ambition shun" along with Jacques' comic overturning of it at 2.5; Amiens' "Blow, blow, thou winter wind" at 2.7; the 2nd Lord's "What shall he have…?" at 4.2; or Hymen's "Wedding is great Juno's crown" at 5.4) relate to the main action?

As far as this song relating to the play and what has happened beforehand, I believe that the song is kind of a review of everything that has already happened in the play with Touchstone and Audrey, same with Rosalind and Orlando. A good example of that is the second verse in the song, on page 682 line 20 to 22, "Between the acres of the rye, with a hey, and a ho, and a hey-nonny-no, these pretty country folks would lie…" I believe this part of the song has a double meaning to it.

In Shakespearean language lie actually means stay {< it also means "to have sexual relations," which is pretty much what the song hints at, I think}, but it takes on a spin with Rosalind and Celia faking their appearances and also with them acting as different people as well to not stir up any attention. Second to that would be the way Rosalind is role playing with Orlando in the play as (Ganymede) and making him call her (i.e. "Ganymede") Rosalind. Here's a quote from page 663 line 380, "I would cure you if you would but call me Rosalind and come every day to my cot, and woo me." I kind of think this is a cruel thing to do, but it is a test of Orlando and a way to verify his love for Rosalind.

22. In the Epilogue, Rosalind has a special request to make of the audience. What is her request—how is she drawing them into the action?

In the epilogue, Rosalind's request comes in two parts. First to the women, Line 9 to 11 in the epilogue, "My way is to conjure you; and I'll begin with the women. I charge you, O women, for the love you bear to men, to like as much of this play as please you." In laymen terms she asks of the audience to love the play like you love your men and have it be something for you to enjoy! The second part is to the men, Line 12 to 14 of the epilogue, "And I charge you, O men, for the love you bear to women—as I perceive by your simpering none of you hates them—that between you and the women the play may please." For the men in the audience they are told to enjoy the play between them and the ladies they have for each other. She makes a side comment on how they can use the play to their advantage, kind of like a toy! She draws the audience to action by telling the women to kiss all the men with beards and good breath till there is no tomorrow to imagine their kissing Orlando I presume, and for the men to be good men and bid farewell as if to a lady leaving their presences.


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