As You Like It: Shakespeare. Notes Noteworthy

Posted on: January 22, 2011

1. Orlando’s grievance against Oliver, his elder brother.

Sir Roland de Boys had instructed Oliver raise his younger brothers properly as gentlemen. Violating his promise to his father, Oliver has treated Orlando an illiterate rustic. Oliver denied Orlando to become acquire the proper qualities of a noble man by withholding an appropriate education. This made Orlando grievous and resentful. He is determined to rebel against this injustice by Oliver.

Oliver kept him at home like an illiterate peasant denying him the advantages and privileges due to him because of his noble birth. Orlando grows only physically under the care of his brother but without any considerable improvement of the mind. Orlando was of the opinion that for his mere physical growth he need not be more obliging to Oliver than the animals on his dunghills.

By saying “this nothing that he so plentifully gives me”, Orlando meant that Oliver did nothing Orlando’s education. This “nothing” is provided to Orlando very liberally (so plentifully), that is Oliver was very generous in disregarding his brother’s right. Orlando speaks these words in a sour sarcastic tone.

Orlando’s words, spoken with resentment and grief, indicate the highly strung relationship between the two brothers.

2. Oliver’s soliloquy – its purpose.

In his soliloquy, Oliver expresses his truthful view of his brother Orlando. Oliver admits that Orlando is of noble ancestry and gentle in conduct. In spite of his lack of grooming , he is remarkably genteel and has sublime intends and aspirations. He is valued and loved by all for his enamouring behavior. Everyone, above all, Oliver’s servants, acknowledge his virtues that Oliver himself is underestimated and scorned. Thus Oliver is rendered with a sense of inferiority which makes him jealous of Orlando.

Apart from revealing the virtues of Orlando, the soliloquy brings out the envious and base character of Oliver and his true motive for his hatred and hostility toward Orlando.


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January 2011
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