Sir Rowland de Boys has died, leaving behind three sons. Oliver, the eldest, hates his youngest brother Orlando. Oliver learns that Orlando intends to fight the neighboring Duke Fredrick’s wrestler, Charles. Oliver urges Charles to show no restraint in the match.
Duke Senior has been banished by his brother, Duke Frederick. Duke Frederick’s daughter Celia comforts her cousin Rosalind, Duke Senior’s daughter.
The women attend the wrestling match and watch Orlando defeat Charles. Rosalind and Orlando fall instantly in love. Duke Frederick banishes Rosalind. Celia and Rosalind don disguises – Celia as the shepardess Aliena, Rosalind as her brother Ganymede – and flee into the Forest of Arden with Touchstone, the Duke’s fool.
Orlando returns home and learns that Oliver intends to kill him. Orlando escapes into the forest and joins the company of Rosalind’s father, Duke Senior, and the lords that attend him.
Romance abounds in the forest. Orlando hangs love poems to trees. Ganymede (Rosalind) convinces Orlando that if he woos him (her) by Rosalind’s name, he will be cured of his love. Silvius the shepherd pursues the shepardess Phebe, and Phebe falls for Ganymede (Rosalind). Touchstone woos Audrey.
Oliver repents and returns to his newly befriended brother and professes his love for Aliena (Celia). Ganymede (Rosalind) is reunited with Orlando, and fulfills her promise to all of the lovers by the following afternoon. The four couples are married.
News arrives to announce that Duke Frederick has had a conversion and has returned the dukedom to Duke Senior. All ends happily in the Forest of Arden.