Tone in As You Like It

Tone Examples in As You Like It:

Act II - Act II, Scene 7 1

"Blow, blow, thou winter wind, Thou art not so unkind As man's ingratitude; Thy tooth is not so keen, Because thou art not seen, Although thy breath be rude. Heigh-ho! sing heigh-ho! unto the green holly: Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly: Then, heigh-ho, the holly! This life is most jolly...."   (Act II - Act II, Scene 7)

Amiens is the melancholic bard. He uses song to transform the sorrows of the world into moments of great joy. Notice the progression that takes place over the course of each of his stanzas. The first stanza begins, “Blow, blow thou winter wind,/Thou art not so unkind/As man’s ingratitude.” In the seventh line, Amiens willfully shifts the song’s tone and content from the sorrowful to the joyful. With the exclamation, “Heigh-ho! Sing heigh-ho!,” Amiens pushes the song to the conclusion that “this life is most jolly.” Amiens thus consciously transforms pain into joy.

"Speak'st thou in sober meanings? ..."   (Act V - Act V, Scene 2)

Orlando’s terse question marks a somewhat humorous tonal shift following Rosalind’s long, meandering, metaphor-filled speech. Considering that Orlando may well know Rosalind’s true identity, his question works on two levels. He asks both whether Rosalind’s words are true and whether her identity is honest.