Orlando, a key character in William Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It,” is portrayed as a noble, courageous, and romantic figure. He is the younger son of Sir Rowland de Boys and is treated unjustly by his older brother, Oliver. Despite this mistreatment, Orlando remains virtuous and kind-hearted.
At the beginning of the play, Orlando feels oppressed and frustrated due to his brother’s tyranny, as he is denied the education and status he deserves. This situation showcases his desire for fairness and respect. His innate nobility is evident, despite the lack of refinement in his upbringing.
Orlando’s character shines in his wrestling match with Charles, where he displays not just physical strength but also bravery and determination. His victory in this contest wins him the admiration of the Duke and the love of Rosalind, the play’s heroine.
Orlando’s love for Rosalind is one of his defining traits. He is deeply romantic and expresses his feelings through poetry and acts of devotion. His love remains steadfast even when he believes Rosalind is gone, proving his loyalty and depth of affection.
Throughout the play, Orlando undergoes significant development. He evolves from a somewhat naive and oppressed young man into a more mature and self-assured individual. His experiences in the Forest of Arden, especially his interactions with Rosalind (disguised as Ganymede) and the other forest dwellers, contribute to his growth.
In the forest, Orlando’s character is further revealed through his interactions with other characters, like the melancholic Jaques. He is portrayed as compassionate and empathetic, caring for his elderly servant Adam as if he were family. This compassion highlights his innate goodness and sense of responsibility.
By the end of the play, Orlando emerges as a well-rounded character, having demonstrated virtue, bravery, romantic passion, and a capacity for personal growth. He reconciles with his brother, Oliver, signifying his forgiving nature and completes his journey from a dispossessed younger son to a mature man ready to take on the responsibilities of adult life.