Act I - Act I, Scene 3

SCENE III. A Room in the Palace.


Why, cousin; why, Rosalind;--Cupid have mercy!--Not a word?

Not one to throw at a dog.

No, thy words are too precious to be cast away upon curs, throw
some of them at me; come, lame me with reasons.

Then there were two cousins laid up; when the one should
be lamed with reasons and the other mad without any.

But is all this for your father?

No, some of it is for my child's father. O, how full
of briers is this working-day world!

They are but burs, cousin, thrown upon thee in holiday
foolery; if we walk not in the trodden paths, our very
petticoats will catch them.

I could shake them off my coat: these burs are in my heart.

Hem them away.

I would try, if I could cry hem and have him.

Come, come, wrestle with thy affections.

O, they take the part of a better wrestler than myself.

O, a good wish upon you! you will try in time, in despite of
a fall.--But, turning these jests out of service, let us talk in
good earnest: is it possible, on such a sudden, you should fall
into so strong a liking with old Sir Rowland's youngest son?

The duke my father loved his father dearly.

Doth it therefore ensue that you should love his son dearly?
By this kind of chase I should hate him, for my father hated
his father dearly; yet I hate not Orlando.

No, 'faith, hate him not, for my sake.

Why should I not? doth he not deserve well?

Let me love him for that; and do you love him because
I do.--Look, here comes the duke.

With his eyes full of anger.

[Enter DUKE FREDERICK, with Lords.]

Mistress, despatch you with your safest haste,
And get you from our court.

Me, uncle?

You, cousin:
Within these ten days if that thou be'st found
So near our public court as twenty miles,
Thou diest for it.

I do beseech your grace,
Let me the knowledge of my fault bear with me:
If with myself I hold intelligence,
Or have acquaintance with mine own desires;
If that I do not dream, or be not frantic,--
As I do trust I am not,--then, dear uncle,
Never so much as in a thought unborn
Did I offend your highness.

Thus do all traitors;
If their purgation did consist in words,
They are as innocent as grace itself:--
Let it suffice thee that I trust thee not.

Yet your mistrust cannot make me a traitor:
Tell me whereon the likelihood depends.

Thou art thy father's daughter; there's enough.

So was I when your highness took his dukedom;
So was I when your highness banish'd him:
Treason is not inherited, my lord:
Or, if we did derive it from our friends,
What's that to me? my father was no traitor!
Then, good my liege, mistake me not so much
To think my poverty is treacherous.

Dear sovereign, hear me speak.

Ay, Celia: we stay'd her for your sake,
Else had she with her father rang'd along.

I did not then entreat to have her stay;
It was your pleasure, and your own remorse:
I was too young that time to value her;
But now I know her: if she be a traitor,
Why so am I: we still have slept together,
Rose at an instant, learn'd, play'd, eat together;
And wheresoe'er we went, like Juno's swans,
Still we went coupled and inseparable.

She is too subtle for thee; and her smoothness,
Her very silence, and her patience
Speak to the people, and they pity her.
Thou art a fool: she robs thee of thy name;
And thou wilt show more bright and seem more virtuous
When she is gone: then open not thy lips;
Firm and irrevocable is my doom
Which I have pass'd upon her;--she is banish'd.

Pronounce that sentence, then, on me, my liege:
I cannot live out of her company.

You are a fool.--You, niece, provide yourself:
If you outstay the time, upon mine honour,
And in the greatness of my word, you die.

[Exeunt DUKE FREDERICK and Lords.]

O my poor Rosalind! whither wilt thou go?
Wilt thou change fathers? I will give thee mine.
I charge thee be not thou more griev'd than I am.

I have more cause.

Thou hast not, cousin;
Pr'ythee be cheerful: know'st thou not the duke
Hath banish'd me, his daughter?

That he hath not.

No! hath not? Rosalind lacks, then, the love
Which teacheth thee that thou and I am one:
Shall we be sund'red? shall we part, sweet girl?
No; let my father seek another heir.
Therefore devise with me how we may fly,
Whither to go, and what to bear with us:
And do not seek to take your charge upon you,
To bear your griefs yourself, and leave me out;
For, by this heaven, now at our sorrows pale,
Say what thou canst, I'll go along with thee.

Why, whither shall we go?

To seek my uncle in the Forest of Arden.

Alas! what danger will it be to us,
Maids as we are, to travel forth so far?
Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold.

I'll put myself in poor and mean attire,
And with a kind of umber smirch my face;
The like do you; so shall we pass along,
And never stir assailants.

Were it not better,
Because that I am more than common tall,
That I did suit me all points like a man?
A gallant curtle-axe upon my thigh,
A boar spear in my hand; and,--in my heart
Lie there what hidden woman's fear there will,--
We'll have a swashing and a martial outside,
As many other mannish cowards have
That do outface it with their semblances.

What shall I call thee when thou art a man?

I'll have no worse a name than Jove's own page,
And, therefore, look you call me Ganymede.
But what will you be call'd?

Something that hath a reference to my state:
No longer Celia, but Aliena.

But, cousin, what if we assay'd to steal
The clownish fool out of your father's court?
Would he not be a comfort to our travel?

He'll go along o'er the wide world with me;
Leave me alone to woo him. Let's away,
And get our jewels and our wealth together;
Devise the fittest time and safest way
To hide us from pursuit that will be made
After my flight. Now go we in content
To liberty, and not to banishment.



  1. It is very common for Shakespeare to end a scene on an unexpectedly rhymed couplet. The rhyme serves as cap on the scene, a sort of punctuation mark. It is equally common for the rhyme to detail a plan or prediction for the events of the following act. Indeed, Rosalind describes their flight “to liberty, and not to banishment.”

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  2. The name Celia takes on, “Aliena,” comes from the Latin noun “alienus,” which means “alien” or “stranger.” As she notes herself, this new name has “a reference to my state.” By journeying with Rosalind, Celia is estranging herself from her father. In effect, she becomes an alien.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  3. Celia chooses Rosalind over her father. The choice is selfless in that Celia must forfeit her inheritance by abandoning her father’s court. On a thematic level, the close tie between Rosalind and Celia runs counter to the broken ties between each pair of brothers in the play.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  4. For evidence of Rosalind’s untrustworthiness, Duke Frederick falls back on Rosalind’s relationship to her father. Frederick assumes that, because she is her father’s daughter, she must be similar to Duke Senior in character. This touches on the theme of inheritance. Throughout the play, the question of what it is that fathers pass along to their children—be it wealth or character traits—comes up.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  5. After Rosalind decides to disguise herself as a man in order to protect herself and her cousin in the woods, the two women decide to take Touchstone with them. This decision raises the question as to whether Rosalind still needs to dress up like a man.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  6. Rosalind demands to know the source of her guilt. Thus far, Duke Frederick has only said that Rosalind’s words do not preclude her from suspicion. Rosalind turns the same idea around on Frederick, claiming that his “mistrust cannot make me a traitor.” This exchange touches on a thematic thread that runs through the play about the untrustworthy nature of words.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  7. Ganymede, the name that Rosalind chooses for her male persona, is an allusion to a divine hero from Greek mythology. Ganymede was rumored to be the most beautiful mortal on Earth. Zeus turns into an eagle to kidnap him so that Ganymede will serve as a cupbearer on Olympus. In poetry Ganymede came to represent homosexual desire and love.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  8. As Duke Frederick enters the scene and his conversation with Rosalind begins, the language subtly shifts from prose to blank iambic pentameter verse. It is common for Shakespeare to pen the dialogue of aristocratic characters in the more formal blank verse and to give the more common characters passages of prose. It figures that Rosalind would craft her plea to the Duke by matching his blank verse, as she does in this line. Note how, even after the Duke leaves, the rest of the scene unfolds in blank verse dialogue.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  9. Rosalind claims that masculinity can be put on and taken off like a costume, pointing to an underlying logic of internal versus external states. She claims that in her heart, “women’s fear” may still exist, but in her external appearance she will be fiercely masculine. She speaks about the human tendency to “outface” one’s internal feelings with “semblances.”

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  10. Celia evokes the wrestling event from earlier in the act, retooling it into a metaphor for Rosalind’s struggle with her emotions. Rosalind then cleverly points to Orlando — the “better wrestler” — as the source of her current emotional state.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  11. Here Rosalind characterizes the “curtle-axe,” or short sword, and spear as symbolic of masculinity. When she claims that she will pose as a man, she points to these external, violent items to construct her masculine identity. In this way, gender is portrayed as an external mask that can be put on and taken off.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  12. 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.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  13. Celia’s pun, an alteration of “briers” to “burs” is telling. A brier is a thorny bush, whereas a bur refers specifically to the thorns of a flower. As flowers are a classic symbol of love and fertility, the metaphor of the bur is fitting. Rosalind’s emotions are the result of her newfound feelings for Orlando.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  14. Duke Frederick says this to Celia to insult her. However, in the last scene fools were said to have great insight while wise men were presented as fools. In a twist of dramatic irony, the Duke means to discredit Celia but unwittingly points out that her refusal to follow his orders is shrewd.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  15. Celia here points out the faulty logic behind inherited rivalries or affections. Celia does not respect her father’s opinions or choices and therefore cannot hate Orlando simply because of his lineage. This reasoning however undermines the social caste system in which one’s birth determines everything about their life. This play repeatedly portrays children rebelling against their parents to underscore a larger theme of social upheaval on a political scale.

    — Caitlin, Owl Eyes Staff
  16. The reference to Cupid—the Greco-Roman god of love—signifies that Rosalind’s mood has changed because of her new infatuation. It is not clear whether Celia throws out Cupid’s name because she suspects the source of Rosalind’s silence.

    — Zachary, Owl Eyes Editor
  17. 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.

    — Sarah, Owl Eyes Staff
  18. There are two meanings to this name.  First, it refers to the myth in which the god Jove becomes so smitten with the young mortal Ganymede that he carries him off to heaven and made him his cup-bearer.  

    Secondly, "Ganymede" was slang for a young man who sold sexual favors or was "kept" by an older man.

    — Jamie Wheeler
  19. Those the who defy the world with their ostentatious displays of bravery.

    — Jamie Wheeler
  20. Do not seek to bear by yourself the burdens of your changed fortune.

    — Jamie Wheeler
  21. This is a confusion of the myths.  It is Venus, not Juno, who has two swans yoked together to pull her chariot (and are therefore inseparable).

    — Jamie Wheeler
  22. Cough. Also plays on "bur" in line 14; both are things that get "stuck."

    — Jamie Wheeler
  23. There are many reasons for your silence.  I would be badly injured if those reasons were stones.

    — Jamie Wheeler