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MonkeyNotes-As You Like It by William Shakespeare
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Notes

The first part of this scene presents Rosalind and Jaques in an entertaining conversation. The meeting between the vivacious Rosalind and melancholy Jaques is like a meeting of sunshine and cloud. But Jaques' sad mood cannot cloud Rosalind's sunny wit, which comes shining through in this scene; she humorously mocks everything about Jaques -- his travels, his experience, and his explanation of his melancholy. When Rosalind makes fun of Jaques' travels, Shakespeare is really ridiculing the Elizabethans' craze for going abroad, usually to Italy, the cradle of the Renaissance. Although Shakespeare's contemporaries claimed to be traveling to gain an education, they usually brought back more vices than culture.

The banter between Jaques and Rosalind is brought to an end by the arrival of the tardy Orlando, who has come for his love-sick treatment. The wooing scene is filled with dramatic irony, for everyone in the audience knows about Rosalind's disguise, while Orlando is in the dark. The whole scene is delightful to view or read, as Rosalind turns every moment into merriment and mockery. She comments on the transitory nature of love, the faithlessness of men, and the unpredictable and capricious nature of women. Underneath her wit, there is really great wisdom.

In the conversation, Rosalind says, "Men are April when they woo, December when they wed." While courting a woman, men show themselves at their best, full of lively spirit, politeness, and tenderness; however, when they get married, they become as serious and gloomy as the month of December. Like men, "Maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives." Before they marry, women are as cheerful and pleasing as the spring season, but their temperament changes for the worse after marriage. Rosalind, as Ganymede, admits that after she marries she will be more jealous than a Barbary cock-pigeon over his hen, more noisy than a parrot, more fond of the novel things than an ape, and more sensual than a monkey.

When Orlando goes to attend Duke Senior, promising to return in two hours, Celia scolds her friend for talking so negatively about women. Rosalind admits that she must sound foolish, for her head is filled only with thoughts of Orlando. Even though he has just left, she misses him so much that she decides to follow him.

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