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As You Like It

ACT II  SCENE VIThe Forest.
[Enter ORLANDO and ADAM]
ADAMDear master, I can go no further. O, I die for food!
Here lie I down, and measure out my grave. Farewell,
kind master.
ORLANDOWhy, how now, Adam! no greater heart in thee? Live
a little; comfort a little; cheer thyself a little.5
If this uncouth forest yield any thing savage, I
will either be food for it or bring it for food to
thee. Thy conceit is nearer death than thy powers.
For my sake be comfortable; hold death awhile at
the arm’s end: I will here be with thee presently;
and if I bring thee not something to eat, I will
give thee leave to die: but if thou diest before I
come, thou art a mocker of my labour. Well said!
thou lookest cheerly, and I’ll be with thee quickly.
Yet thou liest in the bleak air: come, I will bear15
thee to some shelter; and thou shalt not die for
lack of a dinner, if there live any thing in this
desert. Cheerly, good Adam!
[Exeunt]

Next: As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 7
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Explanatory notes for Act 2, Scene 6
From As You Like It. Ed. Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1922.
(Line numbers have been altered.)
__________

Our thoughts go back to Scene 3 of this act when Adam warns his young master of Oliver’s treachery. In the novel Rosader faints and Adam comforts him. How much better is the poet’s scene when we remember Adam’s loyalty to Orlando!

Line 1. I … further: What does this tell us about the distance they have traveled? What action here?

2. for food: for want of food.

6. Live … little: live a little longer; be comforted a little.

6. uncouth: This word and desert in line 18 suggest anything but the beautiful forest in which the Duke finds so much to enjoy.

7. conceit: idea or imagination; that is, you think you are nearer death than you are.

9. arm’s end: like our more modern at arm’s length.

QUESTIONS

1. What dramatic purpose is served by Scenes 5 and 6?

2. Of what use to the development of the plot is Amiens with his singing in Scene 5?

3. Describe your first impressions of Jaques.

4. In what way is Duke Senior disputable?

5. Describe the action in Scene 6.

6. What three groups of persons, waiting to be brought into relation with one another, have, at this point, aroused our interest?

7. How has Shakespeare secured our interest?

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