As You Like It – Planning Overview

Written by Dan

Last updated

Are you looking for a new way to engage your students with classic literature? As You Like It is the perfect place to start! This beloved comedy by William Shakespeare offers delightful laughs and essential lessons that all ages can appreciate. Our planning overview has everything you need to make this an engaging lesson plan for your classroom.

We’ve covered everything, from tips about introducing the play discussion questions and activities! Read on to find out more about how you can bring this timeless story of love, friendship, and family feuds into your classroom.

As You Like It by Shakespeare

Act I

Scene I

The Duke has banished his daughter, Rosalind, and her cousin Celia to the Forest of Arden. Meanwhile, Oliver plans to kill his brother Orlando. However, Orlando defeats him in a wrestling match and flees to the Forest of Arden.

Scene II

Touchstone, the court jester, is on his way travelling with Rosalind and Celia. On their way, they meet Corin, who is a shepherd that offers to be their guide through the forest. They accept, and he leads them to Silvius’s house, who loves Phoebe and rejects him. Phoebe also scorns Ganymede (in disguise as Rosalind) out of jealousy.

Scene III

They come across William, who loves Audrey, but she prefers someone else. Touchstone then marries Audrey in a humorous ceremony where William tries to interrupt it unsuccessfully.

Act II

Scene I

In the forest, Orlando meets Adam, who reveals that Oliver plans to kill him back home. Orlando helps Adam while they express their love for each other, like father and son figures.

Scene II

Oliver arrives claiming he has been saved from death by an old religious man whose intentions were not apparent until much later when it was revealed this man was Duke Senior in disguise who had come looking for his daughter Rosalind in the Forest of Arden for a reunion after so many years apart being exiled from court life.

Scene III

Rosalind is still disguised as Ganymede and, hearing Orlando’s story falls in love with him from afar despite feeling conflicted since she knows Orlando does not know it is her underneath all that disguise talking with him about himself in such an intimate manner which makes Rosalind feel uneasy but fond at heart secretly hoping one day everything gets sorted out between them both admitting feelings openly towards one another without any complications or misunderstandings getting in between them both once again like before when they were exiles separately living distant lives separated by removal or physical distance as it were during this point of time.

Key Themes in As You Like It


The primary theme of the play is love in all its forms, such as romantic love, family love, and friendship. Throughout the play, characters experience both true and false love. Rosalind is a prime example of a character whose understanding of love develops over time. She begins on a journey to discover what real love means for her when she falls for Orlando after he expresses his passionate feelings for Rosalind.


The forest symbolises exile from society, which several characters experience throughout the play. Duke Senior is exiled from court life by his brother and lands in a life of joy and freedom among nature in the Forest of Arden. Rosalind and Celia are also banished to Arden by their fathers while they escape Oliver’s cruel intentions towards his younger brother Orlando.

Gender Roles

The play contains many references to gender roles through the characters’ actions, dialogue and relationships with one another, including Rosalind’s disguise as Ganymede, where she gets to explore gender roles without consequences or judgement like she would have experienced otherwise back at court life amongst other traditional conventions that must be adhered too at that time and place instead of here in this new unnatural environment with its more than generous hospitality gifted unto those who found their way here from beyond these woods during this period in history within these pages of As You Like It.

Key Characters in As You Like It


Rosalind is the heroine of As You Like It. She is the daughter of Duke Senior and a sister to Celia. Rosalind is a strong female character, unafraid to be confident and go against society’s expectations. She falls in love with Orlando after hearing his passionate story, though she believes true love can only be found within herself.


Orlando is the son of Sir Rowland de Boys and brother to Oliver. He is a romantic at heart, though his journey throughout the play helps him become more courageous and independent in all aspects of life, from fighting to falling in love. His story also gives insight into how one discovers true love, despite all the obstacles and hardships that come with it.


Touchstone is a jester and courtier who accompanies Rosalind and Celia on their journey through Arden. He acts as comic relief throughout the play, though he also allows for commentary on relatable topics such as marriage customs and social etiquette.

Qualities of Rosalind

Rosalind is a strong, independent young woman who supports her beliefs. She is courageous, intelligent, and unafraid to take risks. Rosalind’s openness to exploring her ideas around love and relationships makes her an inspiring character to follow throughout the play. She understands that true love can only be found within oneself and isn’t dependent on another person.

Lesson 1: Courage and Risk Taking

Objective: Students will be able to identify what it means to overcome fear by taking risks.


Text of the play “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare, paper and pencils


  1. Ask students to think about a time when they had to make a difficult decision or take a risk even though they were afraid.
  2. Guide the students through the text to locate examples of courage and risk-taking throughout the play. Discuss their findings with the class, allowing each student to provide an example from the text.
  3. Have students write an essay discussing how Rosalind demonstrates courage and risk-taking throughout As You Like It. Outline what these qualities mean for them and how these lessons apply in their lives today.

Lesson 2: Self-Love and Acceptance


Students will be able to understand how self-love can bring about fulfilment in relationships.


Text of the play “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare, paper and pencils, art supplies (optional).


  1. Ask students to reflect on what self-love means to them and why it is essential in relationships with others and themselves. Invite them to share their thoughts in small groups or pairs if desired.
  2. Guide the class in reading through scenes from the play where Rosalind displays an understanding of self-love amid relationship struggles like rejection or uncertainty between her and Orlando’s feelings for each other. Discuss their findings together as a class afterwards.
  3. Give each student a blank sheet of paper and art materials (markers/crayons) if available. Ask them to draw or paint something that symbolises what self-love looks like for them personally based on what has been discussed in class so far about Rosalind’s journey towards self-love & acceptance throughout As You Like It. There should not be any pressure to create “good” art – this activity is meant solely for exploration & reflection.

Lesson 3: Learning from People Around Us

Objective :

Students will gain new perspectives on personal growth by learning from those around them.

Materials :

Text of the play “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare, paper & pencils, various quotes related to personal growth (optional ).


1. Ask students why learning from other people’s successes & failures is essential.

2. Lead a discussion using quotes related to personal growth that best reflects Rosalind’s journey throughout As You Like It (if available ). Alternatively, have each student come up with one quote that resonates most with them based on what was discussed in class so far.

3. Guide students in reading through scenes from the play where Rosalind learns from other characters, such as Touchstone & Celia, about life lessons outside her own experiences. Encourage everyone to share their thoughts & insights afterwards, exploring new ways to grow as people through learning from those around us.

Questions and Answers on ‘As You Like It

How does Rosalind demonstrate courage and risk-taking throughout As You Like It?

Answer: Rosalind demonstrates courage and risk-taking throughout the play, such as when she resolves to disguise herself as a man despite the danger it poses to her or when she stands up to Duke Frederick and his court. In addition, Rosalind also shows strength of character by staying true to her beliefs no matter what difficulties she faces.

How does self-love bring about fulfilment in relationships?

Answer: Self-love is essential for fulfilment in relationships because it allows us to have healthy boundaries with others and be confident in who we are regardless of external circumstances. When individuals develop a sense of self-love, they can enter into relationships with an open heart and foster meaningful connections without fear or dependency on the other person’s approval.

Why is it important to learn from the successes and failures of others?

Answer: Learning from the successes and failures of others is essential because it can provide us with valuable lessons that we can apply to our own lives. By examining how others have reacted or responded in certain situations, we can gain insight into our own choices without having first-hand experience; this helps us become wiser by learning from mistakes made by those before us.

What can the audience learn about personal growth through the characters’ experiences?

Answer: Through observing the characters’ experiences, both positive and negative, audiences can gain insight into how personal growth occurs over time – whether through hardships or moments of joy – and how their mistakes do not define who they are but rather shape them into stronger individuals capable of achieving anything they set their minds to. Additionally, viewers may glean helpful advice on going through life’s struggles while always being true to themselves.

How does Rosalind embrace uncertainty within her relationships?

Answer: Throughout As You Like It, Rosalind shows resilience towards uncertainty within her relationships, particularly with Orlando. Despite his rejection & disappearance, she refuses to give up hope & faith that things will work out eventually.

She also believes in him wholeheartedly, trusting him & understanding him more deeply than most people around her. This highlights Rosalind’s ability to accept ambiguity within any relationship she holds dear. Instead of attempting to control or manipulate them, she chooses to be patient & wait until things naturally unfold as they should.

10 Most Popular Shakespeare Plays

  1. Romeo and Juliet
  2. Hamlet
  3. Macbeth
  4. A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  5. The Taming of the Shrew
  6. Othello
  7. King Lear
  8. Twelfth Night, or What You Will
  9. The Merchant of Venice
  10. Much Ado About Nothing*

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About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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