Explanatory notes for Act 4, Scene 1
From As You Like It. Ed. Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1922.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
This scene contains a lively passage between Rosalind and Jaques in which Rosalind shows herself better able to cope with
Jaques than did even Orlando. The mock courtship naturally follows soon after the scene where the appointment was made,
even though the lover is an hour late. No one is surprised at the mock marriage although Celia is a bit shocked.
Line 5. in extremity: extremely given to.
6. modern censure: ordinary judgment.
11. emulation: envy of his rivals. fantastical: imaginative.
13. politic: pretended sympathy for client.
14. nice: finical.
16. simples: herbs.
17. sundry: varied. in which ... rumination: on which
my frequent meditation. humorous: moody. Note that
this summary of his own brand of melancholy is what you have
been led to expect of Jaques, selfish in the extreme.
19. Rosalind's retort hits nearer the mark than she supposes,
but she scorns such a mental attitude.
30. lisp ... suits: This means to have an affected manner.
31. disable: abuse.
34. swam ... gondola: Rosalind probably means that he
had lived in Venice where he had become experienced in life.
36. Note that Rosalind delays some time in noticing and
answering Orlando. Why?
43. clapped: just touched him so that he is not really in love.
50. jointure: settlement.
53. leer: look. Poor Celia is certainly having a stupid time
and must be unutterably bored.
59. gravelled: stuck in the sand and therefore stuck here.
60. are out: are at a loss.
61. God warn us: God forbid.
62. cleanliest way: the best way.
70. by attorney: by proxy.
72. videlicet: namely.
78. Troilus: During the Trojan War, Troilus, one of the sons
of Priam, fell in love with Cressida. His love was not returned,
for Cressida loved Diomedes, a Greek. Therefore Troilus tried
to die in battle. Shakespeare uses this story in "Troilus and
Cressida" and alludes to it in "Merchant of Venice," where Lorenzo
"in such a night
Troilus me thinks mounted the Troy an walls
And sighed his soul toward the Grecian tents,
Where Cressid lay that night."
75. Leander, he: A common grammatical error now. Leander was drowned when swimming across the Hellespont after
a visit to Hero of Sestos with whom he was in love.
78. Hellespont: The ancient name for the modem Dardanelles. The origin of the name is an interesting story which you
103. go to: come. Are you reminded of a modern slang
111. commission: authority.
124. against: before.
127. like Diana in the fountain: Evidently the Londoners
of the day were accustomed to the sight of such a statue.
128. hyen: hyena. If other hyenas do not laugh, those known to dwellers in Arden certainly do. What sort of laughter
153. pathetical: shocking.
158. religion: observance.
162. simply misused: entirely abused. Celia surely has a
right to scold, and yet even she does it laughingly, for it has been
a charming scene.
169. bay of Portugal: "still used by sailors to denote that
portion of the sea off the coast of Portugal from Oporto to the
headlands of Cintra. The water there is excessively deep, and
within a distance of forty miles from the shore it attains a depth
upwards of 1400 fathoms, which in Shakespeare's time would be
practically unfathomable." — Wright.
172. bastard of Venus: Cupid.
173. thought: melancholy. spleen: caprice.
174. abuses: deceives.
177. shadow: a place in the shade.
1. What does Jaques especially enjoy in Rosalind? Compare this conversation with those he had with Touchstone and
2. Define the melancholy of Jaques as he does himself. Do
you regard it as a possible philosophy of life? Has it any modern counterpart?
3. Why does Rosalind keep Orlando waiting before she speaks
4. How do you explain Orlando's apparent enjoyment of
these interviews with Ganymede?
5. Describe the action of the mock marriage.
6. What part has Celia been playing? Is she necessary to
the scene? What effect would her absence have upon Rosalind?
7. How do you know that Rosalind is excited?
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. As You Like It. Eds. Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1922. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/asu_4_1.html >.