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Summary Act 5


Audrey thinks that taking advice from Jaques was a bad idea and that it would’ve been perfectly alright for her and Touchstone to have gotten married through Sir Oliver Martext. Touchstone assures Audrey that they will get married soon. His chief concern for now is William who Touchstone supposes is Audrey’s swain. Audrey denies the supposition however. By and by, they encounter William who proves to be young, affable, not particularly rich, and very partial to Audrey. Touchstone takes the opportunity to stake his claim of Audrey, going so far as to threaten William with violence if he doesn’t concede Audrey. William tells Touchstone to take it easy before leaving. Presently Touchstone is summoned to appear before Ganymede and Aliena.


Orlando is astonished to hear that Oliver has fallen in love with Aliena and vice-versa. Orlando cant’ fathom how easily and quickly that their love has blossomed, while he is still pining for Rosalind. Nonetheless, Orlando agrees to facilitate their marriage by informing Duke Senior right away as the extent to which Oliver is in love with Aliena is attested to by Oliver’s determination to bequeath his property and wealth to Orlando while he--Oliver--will live and die as a shepherd with Aliena.

At this point, Oliver leaves while Ganymede appears on the scene. When Orlando laments, telling Ganymede that he can no longer take comfort in pretending that Ganymede is Rosalind what with his brother’s and Aliena’s imminent wedding, Ganymede tells Orlando that he has the wherewithal to get Orlando married to Rosalind. Orlando is somewhat encouraged by this as he can’t wholly believe that Ganymede is being serious when he is distracted by the sudden appearance of Silvius and Phebe. A round of complaints ensue as Orlando, Phebe, and Silvius pine respectively for their unrequited loves opposite Rosalind, Ganymede, and Phebe. As if he was a miracle worker, Ganymede promises to resolve their respective complaints at Oliver’s and Aliena’s wedding ceremony.


Touchstone and Audrey anticipate with relish the day when Oliver and Aliena are to be married (tomorrow), as they too planned to get married then. Presently, thy ask two of the banished Duke’s Pages to sing them a love song if it isn’t too much trouble. The Pages oblige and sing. Alas, Touchstone isn’t too impressed. Indeed, he disparages their singing before leaving with Audrey.


The Duke is doubtful if Ganymede can make it possible for Orlando to get married to Rosalind. Presently, Ganymede appears to receive assurances from the parties involved that they will honor their pledges if Ganymede makes good on his words: 1) The Duke will consent to have his daughter, Rosalind, marry Orlando if Ganymede brings Rosalind to the assembly, 2) If Rosalind is brought to the assembly, Orlando will marry her, no questions asked, 3) Phebe will marry Ganymede but should she change her mind, she will marry Silvius, and 4) Silvius will marry Phebe if Phebe rejects Ganymede. They all affirm that they will honor their pledges.

Presently, Ganymede and Aliena leave the scene as Touchstone and Audrey enter the scene. Praising Touchstone’s wit, Jaques urges the Duke to take note of Touchstone who affirms that he has served in a royal court. As befitting a fool, Touchstone talks at length, making something out of nothing and in the process beguiling the time at the end of which Ganymede and Aliena, accompanied by Hymen (the god of love and marriage), enter the scene in their true selves. The banished Duke, Orlando, and Phebe are astounded as they behold Rosalind. By and by, Hymen performs the wedding ceremonies.

Suddenly, Jaques de Boy, the middle brother of Orlando and Oliver, appears to deliver incredible news. As many a noble has abandoned Duke Frederick’s court to be in attendance of the banished Duke, Duke Frederick had deployed and led a strike force the aim of which was to kill the banished Duke and thereby put an end to his popularity. However, in the process of carrying out this mission, Duke Frederick met an old religious man in the forest whose talk so influenced Duke Frederick that he decided to give up his Dukedom, bequeathing it to the banished Duke, and to seclude himself in a monastery. Intrigued, Jaques, the inveterate cynic and misanthrope, decides to go to the former Duke Frederick from whom he hopes to learn something or perhaps to find confirmation of his own sour view of life. Meanwhile, the old Duke orders festivities to begin.

Rosalind addresses the audience to deliver the play’s epilogue the gist of which is to love the play as you would love men if you were women and vice-versa.

William Shakespeare