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MonkeyNotes-As You Like It by William Shakespeare
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Notes

By this point in the play, all the key characters are in the Forest of Arden, including Orlando, Rosalind, Celia, Touchstone, and Duke Senior. Now Shakespeare must gradually bring them all together from their scattered locations. This scene marks the beginning of the convergence. Jaques' enjoyable meeting with the fool (obviously Touchstone) puts the duke's party in touch with Rosalind's party. It is not surprising that Jaques found Touchstone amusing, for he is not deep enough himself to realize the fool was making fun of him.

Orlando's desperate search for food to revive Adam also joins him with the duke's party. When he enters with drawn sword and demands provisions, the duke chides Orlando for his lack of manners. Orlando apologizes and states that his distress over Adam has caused his rudeness.

The famous lines related to the seven ages of man occur in this scene. Almost every student of literature has learned, "All the world's a stage! And all the men and women merely players;" it is one of Shakespeare's most famous quotes. The explanations of the stages, spoken by Jaques, are basically filler, intended to occupy the time when the Duke is waiting for Orlando to return with Adam. The words of Jaques' speech, however, are imaginative and filled with imagery. He describes the "mewling and puking" infant, the whining schoolboy who does not want to go to class, the lover "sighing like a furnace," the soldier "full of strange oaths . . .and quick in quarrel," the justice with his "round belly. . .and eyes severe," the dotard "turning again toward childish," and the senile, sick elder "sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."

When Orlando returns with Adam, it is ironic that the servant is more well-mannered than his master. Although he is starving, Adam takes the time to greet and thank the duke for his hospitality before he begins to eat. During the meal, Amiens entertains with song. Although the words, "Blow, blow thou winter wind," portray the harsher side of nature, the music adds to the carefree nature of the forest, where friends are gathered to enjoy a casual meal.

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