Scenes 4.2 and 4.3
Scene 4.2 - In the Forest of Arden.
Jacques and Duke's Senior's lords have been out hunting in the forest, and have killed a deer. They decide to make a ceremony out of presenting it to the Duke. To accompany this, the men sing a strange hunting song, which describes the honor of the victorious hunter, and refers to the myth of "horns": the old idea that a man whose wife was cheating on him - that is, who was a cuckold - wore horns like those of a deer. The song suggests that all men, throughout all history, have worn the cuckold's horns.
Scene 4.3 - In the Forest of Arden.
Rosalind/"Ganymede" is complaining to Celia/"Aliena" about Orlando's lateness: it is now past two, and he has not returned. Suddenly, Silvius enters in search of "Ganymede," bringing "him" a letter from Phoebe. (This must be the letter which Phoebe decided to write at the end of Scene 3.5.) Opening it, "Ganymede" acts shocked at how rude and insulting Phoebe's words are. But when "Ganymede" reads the letter aloud, we hear that the letter actually contains Phoebe's love-lorn praises of "Ganymede's" beauty, and her requests for "him" to return her love. Silvius is clearly hurt by hearing this, and Celia pities him, but "Ganymede" says Silvius does not deserve pity - not if he's foolish enough to love a woman like Phoebe! He returns the letter to Silvius, giving him a message for Phoebe: if Phoebe really loves "Ganymede," then she should do as he wishes - and that is to love Silvius instead of him.
Just as Silvius is leaving, Oliver enters - the first time we have seen him since Scene 2.2 - looking for "Ganymede" and "Aliena." Oliver hands the surprised "Ganymede" a handkerchief stained with blood, and recounts an astonishing story: Less than an hour ago, Orlando, walking in the forest, came across a ragged man sleeping under a tree. He saw a snake about to bite the man, but the snake was startled by Orlando's approach and slithered away - only to crawl under a bush near which a lioness was waiting for the man to awake, so she could kill and eat him. Orlando nearly abandoned the sleeping man, but finally his noble nature caused him to turn back and battle the lioness, saving the man's life. Finally, Oliver reveals the tale's two great secrets: that he himself was the man under the tree, and that he is none other than Oliver, the wicked brother they have so often heard Orlando curse!
In reaction to the astonishment of Rosalind/"Ganymede" and Celia/"Aliena," Oliver assures them that he has changed. Finishing his story, he relates how the two brothers had a tearful reunion, and how Orlando brought Oliver back to the Duke's cave with him. But it turned out that during his battle with the lioness, Orlando had been badly wounded in the arm. That was how his handkerchief had been stained with blood. Even as he had fainted, Orlando had cried out the name of Rosalind, and had sent Oliver to bring the blood-stained token to the "boy" whom he called his Rosalind, in order to try to explain why he had broken his promise to meet "her."
Overcome with emotion, Rosalind/"Ganymede" faints. Oliver and Celia bring him around, and "Ganymede" tries to look cheerful and pretend he did it on purpose, as part of his courting game with Orlando. Worried about his health, Celia/"Aliena" draws "Ganymede" toward their home, and Oliver comes with them, still waiting to hear what answer "Ganymede" will send back to the anxious Orlando.
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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