Category Archives: As You Like It

Podcast 83: As You Like It: an Overview, a Cast, a Direction, and a Wrap-Up

This week’s podcast concludes our two month-long discussion of As You Like It, with a general wrap-up and a directorial concept and a cast. Then we’ll talk about a new partner and look forward to the next play.

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As You Like It: Midpoint

Using Professor Rodes’ midpoint theory, let’s take a look at As You Like It.

There are 2678 lines in in the play, which means the midpoint is at line 1339, or at Act Three, Scene Two, line 213. This is the scene where everything regarding the Rosalind/Orlando relationship (and I mean just about EVERYthing) starts to come together: Orlando begins to hang poetry, Rosalind finds poetry, Celia finds more than poetry, and Orlando finds Ganymede.

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A Dip Into the Concordance

As I’ve mentioned in our “(the not-so-digital) Tools of the Trade” (and by its inclusion in the persistent left-hand navigation), I love OpenSource Shakespeare and their tools, especially their concordance.

What’s a concordance? It’s an exhaustive listing of the uses of any word within a given body of work. So… let’s say you need to know how many times the word “hand” is used in Titus? A concordance is where you find it.

Or in the case of As You Like It, I wanted to know how a handful of words were used, especially in comparison to their use in other plays…

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Speech Study: the Epilogue

As we near the end of our two-month discussion of As You Like It, let’s take a look at the end of the play–in particular, the epilogue to the play.

It is not the fashion to see the lady the epilogue; but it is no more unhandsome than to see the lord the prologue. If it be true that good wine needs no bush, ’tis true that a good play needs no epilogue; yet to good wine they do use good bushes, and good plays prove the better by the help of good epilogues. What a case am I in then, that am neither a good epilogue nor cannot insinuate with you in the behalf of a good play! I am not furnished like a beggar, therefore to beg will not become me: my way is to conjure you; and I’ll begin with the women. I charge you, O women, for the love you bear to men, to like as much of this play as please you: and I charge you, O men, for the love you bear to women–as I perceive by your simpering, none of you hates them–that between you and the women the play may please. If I were a woman I would kiss as many of you as had beards that pleased me, complexions that liked me and breaths that I defied not: and, I am sure, as many as have good beards or good faces or sweet breaths will, for my kind offer, when I make curtsy, bid me farewell.

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A Podcast Postponed

Greetings, all.

I’ve been running the regular Bill/Shakespeare Project podcasts every two weeks since we relaunched the site back in June.

This week, however, I’m going to postpone the last of the As You Like It podcasts to next week, to better cover and wrap up the play.

That being said, longtime listeners know that the last podcast of any play usually includes a directorial concept and a cast. Next week will be no different. However… if you would like to be included (with a verbal shout-out in the podcast) send me your concept/casting–it doesn’t have to be a full cast, it could just be a single character.

To get your ideas to me,  you can either use the comment area below, or the Contact form, or you can tweet your idea to @walthall and use the hashtag #AYLIconcept. But you need to do this relatively quickly… I’ll probably record the podcast on Friday, so try to get it to me by Thursday night.

I hope to hear from you.

Playing a Sport

When we first meet Rosalind and Celia in As You Like It, Celia wants to bring Rosalind out of her funk, and when Rosalind relents, she tells her cousin that she will “devise sports” (I.ii.23-4). When I read this, my immediate thought was sport = entertainment = play = play acting… ah, this is how we get into disguises. And while this might make sense, Rosalind continues her line by saying, “Let me see, what think you of falling in love?” (I.ii.24).

When I first read that, I felt literary (or at least cognitive) whiplash, as in “whoa, where did that come from?” It just seemed like such a tangent.

But was it?

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Speech Study: All the World’s a Stage… (the first three ages)

Ask just about anyone (who’s read As You Like It) what the most famous speech from the play is, and they’ll probably tell you that it’s the “seven ages” of man speech, commonly known as “All the world’s a stage” speech. So let’s take a look at it, shall we?

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As You Like Prose and Poetry

We’ve discussed prose and poetry many times before in this project. I don’t know if it’s because this is the first play back after the long break for me or what, but this play, As You Like It, feels different.

Maybe it’s all the songs. Or Orlando’s doggerel. Or the seemingly haphazard shifts between the prose and the verse.

It just feels…


We’re nearly 370 lines (and a scene and a half) into the play before we get a line of poetry. Then, at the end of that scene, we’re back to prose. But then halfway through the next scene (Act one, Scene three), we go back into the poetry again, and it’s another four scenes before we get any prose.

Fits and Starts.

We’ve been told to expect verse in the court, yet neither Orlando or Oliver, nor Rosalind or Celia talks in poetry when we meet them there. We would expect the rural rustics to be all prose, all the time. However, Corin and Silvius are speaking in blank verse when we meet them.

I just can’t get a handle on this…