Characters in As You Like It
|This article does not cite any sources. (October 2011)|
- 1 The Court of Duke Frederick
- 2 The Exiled Court of Duke Senior in the Forest of Arden
- 3 The Household of the deceased Sir Roland de Bois
- 4 Country folk in the Forest of Arden
- 5 Other characters
The Court of Duke Frederick
He is brother of Duke Senior and a cruel character who turns good by the end of the play. He banishes Duke Senior and his noble men in the beginning of the play. He has a daughter named Celia for whose company he allows Duke Senior's daughter, Rosalind to stay back and accompany his daughter. He is displayed as a semi-villain character and is hungry for power.
Celia is the daughter of Duke Frederick. She has been portrayed as a foil to her cousin, Rosalind. She displays qualities of the head and heart similar to her cousin. Rosalind and Celia are intimate friends who have been bred and brought up together. It is the love for Rosalind that makes Celia choose a life of voluntary exile. In fact, Celia effects her own individuality so that her cousin may shine brilliantly all the more. 'Celia' literally means 'heavenly' and she is really divine. She may be called the 'moral heroine' of the play as Rosalind is its 'intellectual heroine'.
Le Beau is a courtier in the Court of Duke Frederick; he commands the court.
Charles is the court-wrestler, who appears in the first Act of the play. He is a source of some preliminary information regarding the two Dukes and their two daughters. Orlando fights against him in the wrestling match. It is his defeat which makes Orlando a hero enabling him to win the heart of Rosalind. He is also the means to convey Oliver's villainy and serves as a foil to Orlando.
The Exiled Court of Duke Senior in the Forest of Arden
Duke Senior is the elder brother of Duke Frederick. He has been banished by his younger brother. He, along with his faithful follower, lives in the Forest of Arden and fleets his time careless as they did in the Golden World. His daughter Rosalind is kept at the court by Duke Frederick to company Celia. Duke Senior appears as a contented man who rarely feels adversity. At the end of the play he is restored with the kingdom by Duke Frederick. The father of Rosalind and the rightful ruler of the dukedom in which the play is set. Having been banished by his usurping brother, Frederick, Duke Senior now lives in exile in the Forest of Arden with a number of loyal men, including Lord Amiens and Jaques. We have the sense that Senior did not put up much of a fight to keep his dukedom, for he seems to make the most of whatever life gives him. Content in the forest, where he claims to learn as much from stones and brooks as he would in a church or library, Duke Senior proves himself to be a kind and fair-minded ruler.
Jaques is one of the followers of Duke Senior. He acts like a cynic throughout the play. He is always in a melancholic mood, earning him the title of Melancholy Jaques and constantly criticizes the Duke and other characters. Also, he does not like the world of court and always criticizes it. He is a lead, and says two of Shakespeare's most common monologues.
Amiens is one of the lords attending on Duke Senior in the forest of Arden. He agrees with the Duke when the latter says "sweet are the uses of adversity". He is not prepared to exchange his life in the forest with the comfortable life at the court. He is deeply attached to Duke Senior and, therefore, has willingly accompanies him to the forest of Arden. Amiens does not, in any way, contribute to the action of the play. He does however sing two songs that allude to and perhaps clarify the plot.
The Household of the deceased Sir Roland de Bois
Oliver de Bois
Oliver is the eldest son of Sir Roland de Bois and the heir to his father's estates. In the beginning of the play he appears as a usurper like Duke Frederick. He ill-treats his younger brother Orlando, denies him good upbringing and education. He acts like a villain and even tries to kill Orlando by instigating the wrestler, Charles. By the end of the play he gets reformed and falls in love with Celia - which contributes to the happy ending of the play.
Jaques de Bois
He is the second son of Sir Roland de Bois and the brother of Oliver and Orlando. He only appears at the end of the play when he brings the news of Duke Frederick reformation.
Orlando de Bois
Adam is the old faithful servant of the family of Sir Roland de Boys, who spent four-score years in the family with unflinching devotion to his master. His loyalty to the old master is evidenced by the touching reference to the dead master when Oliver calls him an old dog. He loves Orlando, because he is the image and 'memory of old Sir Roland'. He places all the savings of his thrifty life and faces all unknown perils to save the life of the young master from the clutches of the cruel brother. Thus Adam has the 'soul of a servant to him'.
He is a servant in the household of Oliver de Boys.
Country folk in the Forest of Arden
Phebe is a country-maiden and a shepherdess. She has considerable physical charm. She has been depicted as having silky black hair and large black eyes. Phebe is proud and arrogant though she is of a considerable lower status in life than that of Celia and Rosalind representing the city and court. She is proud of her good looks and puts on an air of superiority. She belittles the humble advances of the love-sick Silvius. The contrast between the court life and country life is one of the leading themes of the play, and the contrast between the princesses and Phebe heightens the country.
Silvius is a young shepherd who represents the romantic lover. He is madly in love with Phebe, a rural girl who does not return his love. Throughout the play, Silvius behaves like a love-sick youth, pining away for Phoebe. He commits many follies and performs many ridiculous actions; even threatening to commit suicide if his love is not returned. Silvius is a typical dejected lover who has no self-respect. Phebe treats him in an indifferent manner and exploits him to acquire the love of Ganymede whom she loves. She constantly rebukes and insults Silvius, yet he longs for her love. Rosalind feels sympathy for him and scolds him for having become a 'tame snake' because of his passion for Phoebe. Finally, he marries Phoebe with the clever manipulation of Rosalind.
Audrey is a homely, ugly and ignorant shepherd girl. Touchstone introduces her to the Duke as 'a poor virgin, an ill-favoured thing but my own'. She is attracted by the courtly manners and wit of Touchstone and Touchstone probably discovers in her rich honesty. Touchstone falls in love with Audrey. Their love is a parody of the romantic love of the hero and the heroine of the play.
Corin is an old shepherd, who too in his youth had been a lover, but he has outgrown his youthful folly and has attained worldly wisdom. He feels deeply for the love - shaken Silvius and tries to console him. He is a simple-hearted shepherd, who eats what he earns envies no man's happiness and is content with his lot. Touchstone calls him a 'natural philosopher'. Thus Corin is a type of simple-hearted, innocent rustic, with a good deal of humanity in him. He is being termed so as thinks straightforwardly and has no inhibitions to proclaim what he thinks. For Corin, cause and effects are directly linked and there should be no confusion about it, that is if life is seen from simplistic point of view then it is much easier to be happy.We can say that's Corin's simple way of looking at life and things around him make him a wisest man, who critiques the complexities of the court.
William is a country lad - humble and silly. He comes to profess his love for Audrey but during his conversation with Touchstone, he does not show the depth of his feelings. He appears to be a coward. When he is threatened that he would be beaten and killed if he does not give up Audrey, he does not challenge Touchstone, his rival in love. Audrey's silence and her request that William should go away shows that the love between William and Audrey is superficial.
Sir Oliver Martext
Sir Oliver Martext is a vicar who is called to perform the marriage of Touchstone and Audrey.
Lords and ladies in Duke Frederick's court
Lords in Duke Senior's forest court
Pages and musicians
Hymen, the God of Marriage