Quotes in As You Like It

Quotes Examples in As You Like It:

Act I - Act I, Scene 2 2

"The more pity that fools may not speak wisely what wise men do foolishly...."   (Act I - Act I, Scene 2)

This line is an example of chiasmus, a rhetorical device in which concepts are repeated in a reverse order. Touchstone uses this chiasmus to invert the social order: the “wise men” are figured as doing foolish things and the “fools” are figured as speaking wisely. This line introduces the theme of inversion within this play.

"that was laid on with a trowel...."   (Act I - Act I, Scene 2)

Celia criticizes Touchstone's inflated language by claiming it is "laid on with a trowel," or with unsubtle force, as though he's a bricklayer or mason guilty of poor workmanship.

"Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold. ..."   (Act I - Act I, Scene 3)

This line offers some insight into Rosalind as a character and prefigures her plans to dress as a man. In shedding her beauty, she is no longer the object of both male desire and power. Ironically, she gains power in ridding herself of something others consider precious.

"Now go we in content To liberty, and not to banishment...."   (Act I - Act I, Scene 3)

Though Celia and Rosalind have been banished to the Forest of Arden, Celia seems to think it will be more liberating to live in the woods. "Banishment" frees them from the tense jealousies of the court.

"Sweet are the uses of adversity; ..."   (Act II - Act II, Scene 1)

The Duke is trying to comfort himself after being banished to the Forest of Arden by his villainous brother. Instead of dwelling on his misfortune, he considers the perks of being banished—such as being free from society, or the "public haunt."

"true lovers..."   (Act II - Act II, Scene 4)

Touchstone the jester tells a ridiculous anecdote about being so in love with a milkmaid that he kissed her batlet (a wooden paddle used to beat clothes during washing) and her cow's teats. Touchstone argues, though, that true love is not the ideal we want it to be; "as all is mortal in nature, so is all nature in love mortal in folly."

"we have seen better days..."   (Act II - Act II, Scene 7)

When Orlando chances upon the Duke and his men in the Forest of Arden, he initially mistakes them for savages or criminals. The Duke, even in his exile, has not forgotten his manners; after delivering the pitiful speech about his men having seen better days, he complies with Orlando's demands.

"Blow, blow, thou winter wind, Thou art not so unkind As man's ingratitude;..."   (Act II - Act II, Scene 7)

Nature, though certainly harsh, is not as unkind as "man's ingratitude" because it is not evil or intentionally cruel. Though Duke Senior and his men have been banished to the woods, they are at least safe from the wretchedness of humankind.

"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players;..."   (Act II - Act II, Scene 7)

The idea that "all the world's a stage" was already a cliché by the time Shakespeare wrote As You Like It. Jacques, the slightly pretentious pessimist in the Forest of Arden, deploys the metaphor of life's stage for his famous speech on the Seven Ages of Man.

"too much of a good thing..."   (Act IV - Act IV, Scene 1)

"Too much of a good thing" is a euphemism for male genitalia. Rosalind, who is cross-dressing as the male Ganymede, is testing Orlando's courtship skills; otherwise, she probably wouldn't (as a woman) speak so suggestively.