In a French duchy, the old Duke has been usurped by his younger brother, Frederick. A young man named Orlando is mistreated by his elder brother, against their dead father’s wishes. Rosalind, the old Duke’s daughter, has been allowed to remain in court only because she is the closest friend of Celia, Duke Frederick’s daughter. When Rosalind is banished from court, she flees to the Forest of Arden with Celia and Touchstone, the court fool; meanwhile, Orlando also escapes to the forest, fleeing his brother. In the Forest of Arden, the old Duke holds court with exiled supporters, including the melancholy Jacques. There, Rosalind disguises herself as Ganymede and offers advice to a group of would-be lovers: Orlando, who has taken to posting love poems dedicated to Rosalind on trees, and Silvius and Phebe, two young shepherds.
Shakespeare is thought to have written As You Like It around 1599; while stylistic analysis has not conclusively established its place in the canon, it was certainly completed by August 1600 and was published in the First Folio in 1623. There are no certain dates of performance until the 17th century, but it may have been performed in 1599 or 1603. The play includes a number of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches, including Jacques’ monologue, “All the world’s a stage.”
This Standard Ebooks production is based on William George Clark and William Aldis Wright’s 1887 Victoria edition, which is taken from the Globe edition.