Scene 1.2 - Outside of Duke Frederick's palace.
At the palace of Duke Frederick, two young noblewomen walk and talk together: Rosalind, the daughter of the banished Duke Senior, and her cousin Celia, Duke Frederick's daughter. Rosalind is very depressed over her father's banishment, but Celia urges her to cheer up. She reminds her that the two of them are not enemies but dear friends, and tells Rosalind that when Duke Frederick dies and Celia - his only child - inherits his lands, she will restore to Rosalind everything that Duke Frederick took away from Duke Senior. Rosalind agrees to try to cheer up, and they begin to laugh and joke about falling in love.
Touchstone, the court clown, comes to find them and tells them that Celia's father has sent for them both. When they delay him, a foolish nobleman named Monsieur Le Beau comes to fetch them. He tells them the wrestling has already begun, and with great pleasure describes how Charles, the Duke's famous wrestler, has already wrestled three young brothers and nearly killed each of them while their old father wept. He cannot understand why Celia, Rosalind, and Touchstone don't think this is very funny.
Duke Frederick arrives with his lords and noblemen, his wrestler Charles, and the next challenger - none other than Orlando. Noticing his youth and genteel, aristocratic good looks, everyone is sure that he will be badly beaten or killed by Charles. Celia and Rosalind pity him greatly and try to persuade him not to wrestle, but Orlando explains that he is a desperate man, with nothing to lose and no one to mourn him even if he is killed. He begs them to wish him luck, which they tenderly do.
However, when the match begins, Orlando turns out to be a magnificent wrestler and defeats Charles, leaving him beaten and speechless. The Duke and audience are amazed and impressed, but when Orlando tries to claim his prize, the Duke becomes grim: it turns out that Orlando's father Sir Rowland was a deadly enemy of Duke Frederick, and the Duke storms out without giving Orlando the reward. Indignantly, Celia comforts and praises Orlando, and Rosalind, even more deeply impressed by the young man, gives him a chain from around her neck and asks him to wear it for her. She tells him that he has conquered not only Charles, but someone else as well. Orlando, trying to speak to Rosalind, finds he cannot even get any words out, and says to himself that he, too, has been conquered. Le Beau tells Orlando hastily that he should leave the court before Duke Frederick decides to take action against him. From Le Beau, Orlando finds out the identities of the girls, and - murmuring Rosalind's name to himself - leaves the court, trying to figure out where he can go next.
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Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Scenes 2.1, 2.2, 2.3
Scenes 2.4, 2.5, and 2.6
Scenes 4.2 and 4.3
Scenes 5.1 and 5.2
Scenes 5.3 and 5.4