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MonkeyNotes-As You Like It by William Shakespeare
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Act IV, Scene 3

Summary

This scene returns to Rosalind and Celia. As Rosalind impatiently waits for the return of Orlando, Celia teases that perhaps he has gone to sleep. Silvius enters, carrying Phebe's letter for Ganymede. Not knowing he has carried a love letter, Silvius warns that it is probably an angry criticism of Ganymede. Rosalind reads aloud the verses of love that Phebe has written. Poor Silvius is totally shocked. Rosalind chides him for his timidity and directs him to tell Phebe, "If she loves me, I charge her to love thee." Rosalind is trying to make the best of a bad situation.

After Silvius' exit, a stranger (Orlando's brother Oliver) hastily enters. He says that he has a message for Ganymede from Orlando and asks for directions to his cottage. Celia gives him the directions, but states that no one is there at present. Because of Orlando's description, Oliver guesses that he is speaking to Ganymede and begins to explain Orlando's absence. After Orlando parted from Ganymede, he found a man asleep in the forest, unaware that there was a snake near his neck. On seeing Orlando, the snake slithered away into a bush. Orlando approached the sleeping man and discovered that it was his brother, Oliver. He was happy to see him, even though Oliver had been cruel to him in the past.

The brothers were unaware that under the shade of the bush, there was a hungry lioness waiting for something to eat. To protect Oliver, the noble Orlando battled with the lioness. Although he overpowered the lioness, Orlando was wounded in the fight. After going back to the duke's cave, Orlando discovered that the lioness had torn apart his arm. Because of the loss of blood, Orlando fainted, and Oliver took care of his brother.

Oliver then reveals to Rosalind and Celia that he is Orlando's brother. Celia accuses him of trying to kill his brother. Oliver replies, "Twas I; but 'tis not I," implying that he is a changed man. Oliver explains that his brother has forgiven him and that everything is now harmonious between them. He then produces Orlando's bloody handkerchief and explains that his brother has asked him to bring it to Ganymede with an explanation of his absence.

Looking at the blood-stained handkerchief, Ganymede faints. When he recovers, Oliver comments that Ganymede lacks a man's heart. With characteristic presence of mind, Ganymede claims that he only pretended to faint, playing the role of Rosalind. Ganymede makes Oliver promise to tell Orlando how well the youth has acted the part. Because Oliver is shrewd, he senses that something is wrong about Ganymede's story.

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