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In As You Like It Act 1 scene 2 and Act 2 scene 3 how far do you think Orlando is a hero?

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Elisha 21.4.09 In Act 1 scene 2 and Act 2 scene 3 how far do you think Orlando is a hero? Orlando is the central protagonist in William Shakespeare's play 'As You like It'. His involvement in the major continuous plot displays his characteristics and traits clearly. This essay will explore how far Orlando can be considered a hero, to what extent he is a conventional hero and how Shakespeare's stagecraft conveys Orlando as heroic in Act 1 scene 2 and Act 2 scene 3. Before it is possible to deduce if Orlando's characteristics promote him into being a hero, it is necessary to have prior comprehension of what exactly the term hero means, and the necessary traits possessed for heroism. Personally, I believe a hero to be someone of distinguished courage or ability. Heroes are often admired, and regarded as a model or ideal. Throughout 'As You Like It', Shakespeare portrays Orlando as a possessor of these qualities, however, in Act 1 scene 2 and Act 2 scene 3, these qualities are extensively evident. The pre-eminent aspect of Orlando that expresses his heroism is his use of language. Generally heroes are not just conveyed as heroic externally but also by their internal, invisible characteristics. ...read more.


He remained deaf to their pleas and speaks as if he has absolutely nothing to lose, 'Wherein, if I be foiled, there is but one shamed that was never gracious - if killed, but one dead that is willing to be so.' His determination to prove himself is a truly heroic trait. Orlando does indeed win the wrestling match against Charles, surprising the spectators, including Rosalind and Celia. This success shows Orlando to be very courageous and have either immense physical strength or to be very quick witted. Maximum effect cannot be gained by merely reading the fight scene from a script, but it is easy to imagine that sixteenth century audiences would have been very excited by the violence taking place on stage. This scheme of physical contest to show Orlando as a hero is very much a concept of Shakespeare's stagecraft. A hero cannot be a limp, feeble character that does not stand up for himself. This demonstration of tenacity and toughness is a conventional method of portraying a hero. Considering that this is near the opening scene of the play, the audience would be very much enthralled by this dramatic opening and completely in awe of Orlando. ...read more.


As the two characters are together frequently, it is quite easy to see the dissimilarities between them. In Act 1 scene 2, after Orlando has defeated Charles at the wrestling match, Rosalind ominously states, 'Sir, you have wrestled well - and overthrown More than your enemies.' This quotation shows Rosalind to be insightful and somewhat mysterious. The statement would plant questions in the audience's minds; such as, 'What has he overthrown other than his enemies, Rosalind?' This upstaging is no fault of Orlando's, given the fullness of Rosalind's character; Shakespeare clearly intends his audience to delight in the match. In conclusion to Orlando's character, he is extremely well written with much depth and passion by Shakespeare. He certainly is very much a hero in the play; he possesses many heroic traits such as charm, wit, benevolence and bravery. The other characters and audience can clearly see this heroic side to Orlando too, and this further cements Orlando's heroic part in 'As You Like It'. In the opening scene, Orlando laments that Oliver has denied him the schooling deserved by a gentleman, but by the end of the play, the audience have sympathised and related to him. He has displayed his sensitivity, overpowered his brother, and has won, as an underdog, a wrestling match against a current champion. He has proven himself a gentleman and a true hero without any such conventionality. ...read more.

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