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As You Like It

ACT III  SCENE IA room in the palace.
DUKE FREDERICKNot see him since? Sir, sir, that cannot be:
But were I not the better part made mercy,
I should not seek an absent argument
Of my revenge, thou present. But look to it:
Find out thy brother, wheresoe’er he is;
Seek him with candle; bring him dead or living
Within this twelvemonth, or turn thou no more
To seek a living in our territory.
Thy lands and all things that thou dost call thine
Worth seizure do we seize into our hands,10
Till thou canst quit thee by thy brothers mouth
Of what we think against thee.
OLIVERO that your highness knew my heart in this!
I never loved my brother in my life.
DUKE FREDERICKMore villain thou. Well, push him out of doors;15
And let my officers of such a nature
Make an extent upon his house and lands:
Do this expediently and turn him going.

Next: As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 2

Explanatory notes for Act 3, Scene 1
From As You Like It. Ed. Samuel Thurber, Jr. and Louise Wetherbee. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1922.
(Line numbers have been altered.)

The third act is the climax of the love plot. With the exception of the first scene it lies wholly within enchanted Arden. No wonder the spell of that witchery fell upon all the lovers, both those of high and those of low degree.

Line 1. since: To what time does the Duke refer?

6. seek … candle: The expression is proverbial, originating, doubtless, from the gospel of Luke xv. 8.

7. turn: return.

9. Thy lands … hands: This may suggest another motive for his anger.

11. quit: acquit.

14. Which is the greater villain?

17. Make an extent: In English law a writ to recover debts to the crown by seizure of land, goods, or even the person of the debtor. Shakespeare uses legal expressions with great freedom but not with profound legal learning. His purpose was to create an impression on his audience. [Please click here for more on Shakespeare and the law.]


1. When does this scene take place?

2. Is there any new light thrown on the character of either of these villains?

3. Describe any action that may take place.

4. Do you feel like laughing at any point in the scene?

6. What necessary step in unfolding the plot has been effected in this short scene?