Act III - Act III, Scene 1

ACT III.

SCENE I. A Room in the Palace.

[Enter DUKE FREDERICK, OLIVER, Lords and Attendants.]

DUKE FREDERICK.
Not see him since? Sir, sir, that cannot be:
But were I not the better part made mercy,
I should not seek an absent argument
Of my revenge, thou present. But look to it:
Find out thy brother wheresoe'er he is:
Seek him with candle; bring him dead or living
Within this twelvemonth, or turn thou no more
To seek a living in our territory.
Thy lands, and all things that thou dost call thine
Worth seizure, do we seize into our hands,
Till thou canst quit thee by thy brother's mouth
Of what we think against thee.

OLIVER.
O that your highness knew my heart in this!
I never lov'd my brother in my life.

DUKE FREDERICK.
More villain thou.--Well, push him out of doors,
And let my officers of such a nature
Make an extent upon his house and lands:
Do this expediently, and turn him going.

[Exeunt.]

Footnotes

  1. Frederick makes the claim that rejecting his brother Orlando tarnishes his class. The claim is ironic: Frederick has done the same thing to his own brother Duke Senior. The Duke lives like a peasant in the forest because Frederick banished him.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. “Villain” in this context means someone low-born or base-minded. The word signifies how one’s class causes unprincipled or depraved behavior. Here, Frederick claims that Oliver’s hatred for his brother makes him a “villain,” or someone who is low-born, base. In not caring for his brother, Oliver defies the class system in which aristocrats are born into their social status. By rejecting his brother, Oliver diminishes Orlando’s class and by extension his own.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. In another use of doubles, Shakespeare shapes the primary tension of this scene to be the opposite of Act II, Scene vii. Just as the collaboration Duke Senior and Orlando in the previous scene is defined by collaboration, the relationship between Duke Frederick and Oliver is marked by coercion. While the two villains have similar goals, Frederick uses threats to move Oliver to action.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  4. Frederick’s ability to seize all of Oliver’s wealth and landholdings demonstrates the unstable nature of Oliver’s identity: though he is a landowner and a member of the nobility, his position is subject to the king’s discretion. It is something that can be given and taken away. Therefore, Oliver’s identity can be seen as a type of costume or pose; like many of the other characters in the play, Oliver plays his part as an aristocrat.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Editor
  5. Shakespeare crafts Act III, Scene ii as a mirror opposite of Act II, Scene vii. The setting, themes and characters in the previous scene find their double here. The Forest of Arden is contrasted with the “Room in the Palace.” The exchange between Duke Senior and Orlando is mirrored by the exchange between their respective doubles, Duke Frederick and Oliver. Shakespeare carefully structures his plays to play on and draw out these doubles.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Staff
  6. Even such a scoundrel as Duke Frederick thinks Oliver's hatred of Orlando is evil.

    — Stephen Holliday
  7. Duke Frederick never discloses exactly what treachery he believes Oliver is guilty of, but given his devious nature (that allowed him to steal his kingdom from the rightful ruler), the Duke undoubtedly assumes everyone is as treacherous as he is.

    — Stephen Holliday