Scene 3.2 - In the Forest of Arden.
Orlando walks into a clearing in Arden Forest and hangs a love poem upon the branches of a tree. He has been writing poetry in praise of his beloved Rosalind, and announces his plan to hang poems on branches and carve verses into the bark until every tree is covered with poetry in her praise.
Orlando goes off to find more trees, and Touchstone comes in accompanied by Corin the shepherd, who is asking him how he likes forest life. Touchstone replies with his usual contradictions and puns. When he half-jokingly criticizes Corin for never having been at court, however, Corin seriously responds that he does not believe he's missed anything; after all, country ways may seem silly to fine courtiers, but the manners that people use at court would be just as inappropriate in the country. For instance, courtiers are always kissing their hands to their superiors, and shepherds could never do this - they're always handling their sheep, and it would be unsanitary! To this Touchstone has no reply.
Suddenly Rosalind - in disguise as "Ganymede" - walks into the glade, reading aloud a poem. It is one of Orlando's poems, which she has plucked from a tree, and it is in praise of the virtues of Rosalind. (Of course, Rosalind knows the poem is about her, and so does Touchstone; but Corin knows her only as the boy named "Ganymede," and has no idea who "Rosalind" might be.) The verses are very silly, and Touchstone promptly rattles off some parodical lines making fun of them - they are much funnier than Orlando's lines and are mildly obscene. The annoyed "Ganymede" yells at him.
Celia comes in, reading another of Orlando's poems, which she has also found on a tree. She tells Touchstone and Corin to go away, and they do, leaving her alone with Rosalind. Alone, the girls make fun of the poems together, and then Celia coyly asks Rosalind if she knows who hung them on the trees. When she discovers that Rosalind does not, she teasingly reveals who the writer is - the young man who wears Rosalind's chain around his neck! (Rosalind gave Orlando this chain in Scene 1.2.) Rosalind is practically overwhelmed, for she is helplessly in love with Orlando, and bombards Celia with questions. When Celia teases her for it, Rosalind says that although she is dressed as a man, her heart and tongue are still a woman's: she is overwhelmed by her feelings and must speak them aloud.
Celia points out that Orlando himself is now coming back into the glade, so Rosalind can satisfy her curiosity for herself. The two girls hide themselves to watch. Orlando enters, accompanied by Jacques. The two are holding a polite but acidic conversation: Jacques begs Orlando not to damage any more trees by carving poetry in their bark, and Orlando begs Jacques not to read any more of his poems aloud in a funny voice. They spar verbally for a while - Jacques calling Orlando a fool for being so much in love, and Orlando just calling Jacques a fool- and when Orlando refuses Jacques' invitation to sit down with him and complain about the miserable state of the world, the insults degenerate quickly, and Jacques leaves in a huff.
Rosalind decides to approach Orlando and speak to him like a bold young man, since this is the only way she can think of to get closer to him. Still in her boy's clothes, and now behaving like her male persona of "Ganymede," she approaches Orlando and impresses him with her quick wit as she makes rapid-fire puns and metaphysical commentary about the passing of time. Impressed and clearly intrigued, Orlando asks this "pretty youth" where "he" lives; in response to Orlando's comment that his accent is more refined than that of most people who live in the forest, "Ganymede" explains that he had an uncle who taught him fair speech - and who also taught him to hate women for their many faults, and never to act like or fall in love with one. When Orlando asks "Ganymede" to tell him some of these bad things about women, "Ganymede" explains that he's saving that information for one person in particular: "Ganymede" wants to find the poor fool who's littering the forest with love poems to some woman named "Rosalind," and to help him snap out of it.
Orlando confesses that he is the one who is in love with Rosalind, and "Ganymede" offers to cure him of his "lunacy." "Ganymede" explains his method for curing men of love - which, he claims, he has successfully used before: "Ganymede" will pretend to be Orlando's beloved, and Orlando must come to court him daily and call him by Orlando's beloved's name - in this case, "Rosalind." "Ganymede" will behave as - so he says - women do when they are being courted: he will be "moonish" and hysterical, tearful and unpredictable, demanding and hysterical, clingy one moment and cruel the next. This, he says, will remind Orlando of what women are really like, and will cure him of his crazy desire to actually win his Rosalind. ("Ganymede" also adds that boys are also like this when they are being courted, leaving the question open as to which gender Orlando is meant to think of "Ganymede" as being.)
"Ganymede" promises that his method will work to cure Orlando of love: the last man he used it on was driven half crazy, swore off women forever, and went to live as a monk. At first Orlando refuses, but "Ganymede" softly pleads with him to come by "Ganymede's" house every day and court him like a woman, swearing he can cure Orlando's misery. Orlando suddenly changes his mind and agrees, and the delighted "Ganymede" invites him to come along with him so "Ganymede" can show him where he lives; at the same time, he wants to know where Orlando makes his home. And from now on, he reminds Orlando, Orlando must not call him Ganymede, but "Rosalind." Along with Celia (still in disguise as "Ganymede's'" sister "Aliena"), the two head off to "Ganymede" and "Aliena's" house.
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Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Scenes 2.1, 2.2, 2.3
Scenes 2.4, 2.5, and 2.6
Scenes 4.2 and 4.3
Scenes 5.1 and 5.2
Scenes 5.3 and 5.4