Duke Senior: The banished duke--Rosalind’s father, Celia’s uncle, and Frederick’s brother--is an easy-going, good-humored, and contented man. He does not complain of his misfortunes but rather makes the best of things, and even finds good in his banishment.
Duke Frederick: The usurper--Celia’s father, Rosalind’s uncle, and Duke Senior’s brother--is a man no one speaks well of, yet he has overthrown a man everyone does speak well of; thus he must have been capable, even though brutal, harsh, moody, and manipulative. In the end he does repent and restores all estates and possessions to the rightful duke and other owners.
Amiens: A lord attending the banished duke.
Jaques: A lord attending the banished duke and a very melancholy fellow, he has followed the banished duke into the Forest of Arden.
Le Beau: A courtier attending Duke Frederick.
Charles: A wrestler of Duke Frederick.
Oliver: The eldest son of Sir Rowland de Boys, he inexplicably hates his youngest brother, Orlando, and abuses him, deprives him of education, and eventually plots to have him murdered. Yet, near the end of the play, this hardened villain suddenly announces his complete change of character, reconciles with Orlando, and marries Celia.
Jaques: Not to be confused with the melancholy Jaques, he is the second son of Sir Rowland de Boys. He is now away from home, attending the university.
Orlando: The youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys, he has been kept like a peasant by his brother Oliver all his life. Yet, despite this, his goodness and natural gifts are apparent. To save his life, he flees from a harsh and rigidly structured society in which the old, the lowly, and the female are victimized. In the anarchic world of Arden, he cares for Adam, who is both old and lowly, with great tenderness and with no concern for rank. Most important, he is temporarily set free from the restrictions and fictions imposed on a man dealing with a woman. He comes to know Rosalind not as a mistress placed on a pedestal for greater ease of worship and dehumanization, but as a friend and equal.
Adam: A servant to Oliver, he leaves his cruel master to follow Orlando into exile, asking nothing more than to be a servant.
Dennis: A servant to Oliver.
Touchstone: A fool or court jester in Duke Frederick’s court, he leaves with Celia and Rosalind when they flee to the Forest of Arden. He is more, however, than the average fool, and through his satirical wit exposes the follies of life. He courts Audrey, sometimes as a burlesque, but in the end is happily married to her.