As You Like It

by William Shakespeare
302 pages, Romance
Reviewed by Jeanne

Amusingly absurd, in Shakespeare's usual comedic style; some crude content, also typical.


After her father the Duke is banished by his brother Frederick, Rosalind, accompanied by her cousin Celia and Touchstone the Fool, disguises herself as a boy and flees to the Forest of Arden. Also running from the court is Orlando, who fell in love with Rosalind and now pines for her. When Rosalind undertakes to cure Orlando of his love while still in disguise...things get a bit awkward.


Various characters represent virtues and vices. Frederick banishes his brother out of greed, while Orlando's brother Oliver seeks to kill Orlando from jealousy; on the other hand, the Duke and Orlando are both virtuous men. Touchstone and Audrey are the most ignorant and immoral of the characters. Shakespeare's portrayal of love is somewhat flighty, as usual.

Spiritual Content

Some references to Greek/Roman mythology, as in Rosalind choosing the name "Ganymede" (Jove's page) and the appearance of Hymen, the God of marriage. One character is said to have met a "religious man" and been converted to a life of asceticism.


A character enters a wrestling match and knocks out his opponents. Another character is nearly strangled by a snake and also attacked by a lioness; no one is killed, but one person is wounded. Jaques, the melancholy opposite of Touchstone, mourns and makes much ado over the killing of animals.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Rosalind remarks that she is "falser than vows made in wine." No drunkenness.

Sexual Content

Touchstone and Audrey are constantly running about looking for a priest to marry them, but Touchstone has no intention of honoring the marriage. Audrey makes several comments about wanting to be a woman of the world. The whole plot of Rosalind being dressed as a boy leads to some awkwardly amusing results, as a shepherdess falls in love with "Ganymede." This is sorted out by the end, of course. See Crude Language or Behavior.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

As usual, there are a great many plays-on-words that can be crude, but most are difficult to understand without translation.


Typical of Shakespeare's comedic style, "As You Like It" is full of absurdity of speech and plot. Credulity is stretched (Rosalind managing her disguise, everything being worked out in five seconds flat at the end) for further amusement; if you want a Shakespearean play where events make sense, his tragedies are advisable over his comedies. Touchstone's and Jaques' speeches in particular are full of nonsense, best appreciated when delivered rather than read. In fact, that sums up not only "As You Like It," but all of Shakespeare's plays: to be fully appreciated, they must be seen in film or on stage. Without the comic or tragic delivery of a skilled actor, even Shakespeare's most brilliant wit cannot come fully to life.

Fun Score: 4
Values Score: 2.5
Written for Age: adult

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