Back to: As You Like It by William Shakespeare
In the play ‘As You Like It’, Orlando is the male protagonist. He is an accomplished gentleman and the fine quality of his mind and heart earns both love and hatred by many characters of the play.
His elder brother Oliver says about him that “he’s gentle, never schooled and enchantingly beloved, and indeed so much in the heart of the world and especially of my own people.”
Orlando fits the words of its very own creator Shakespeare who said, “it is excellent to have a giant’s strength but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant.” Orlando is very kind and humble.
Whenever he sees anyone in trouble, his heart moves with pity. Adam, the old man who saved him from Oliver’s plan to kill him, begins to feel tired in the Forest of Arden and Orlando acts swiftly and goes around the forest to look for some food.
He has great physical strength too as at the very beginning of the play, he surprises everyone by defeating the famous wrestler Charles. Yet he never boasts about it. A heart full of love resides within him. The moment he comes across Rosalind, both of them fall in love with each other.
Orlando’s courage as a lover gets obvious the way he starts looking for Rosalind and trying to know about her from that very instant relentlessly. His capacity to focus on love makes him a trustworthy lover who can stand and support his beloved all through life.
Orlando is a man of action. He is held in high esteem by others. Adam asks him, “why are you virtuous? Why do people love you? And wherefore are you gentle, strong and valiant?”
His character is further strengthened when Duke Senior happily approves his marriage to his daughter Rosalind. He falls in love fully and vulnerably and it shows his faith in human hearts.
The character of Orlando is overall a free and natural character who follows his natural impulse to the end, and his loyalty even on the face of danger helps the play end perfectly.