Summary and Analysis Act III: Scene 4


When this scene opens, Rosalind is at the point of tears; she is sitting in the forest with Celia, waiting for Orlando, who has not kept his first appointment for the “1ove cure.” Celia teases her friend about Orlando’s unreliability, but then she points out that Orlando is probably helping take care of matters for Rosalind’s father, Duke Senior. Rosalind reveals that she has met her father in the forest, but she says that he did not recognize her in her disguise. Her father’s plight and his presence in the forest don’t concern her unduly, however; she can think only of Orlando. Happily, Corin comes along, offering them, and us, some diversion: a “pageant” of love — Silvius courting the scornful Phebe.


This scene clearly shows us the depth of Rosalind’s love for Orlando. That Celia is not in love at this time and is practical in her advice tends to make Rosalind’s love seem all the more intense, of course. There is a certain degree of melodramatic pathos to the situation, and for that reason we are ready to laugh at the overindulgent “love” of Silvius for Phebe. Corin’s invitation to the girls to watch the couple is a clever bit of dramatic balancing; his realistic speech offers a refreshing contrast to the romantic verbosity of the girls.