As You Like It Essay

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[In the following excerpt, Welsford regards Touchstone as a kind of intermediary between the playwright and the audience, and is literally what his name implies: a "test of the quality of men and manners." The critic considers both Touchstone and Jaques social commentators in As You Like It, but while Touchstone is sympathetic and truly partial, Jaques is a superficial critic whose chief interest is with his own, not society's, reactions. For further commentary on Touchstone's character, see the excerpts by Alfred Harbage, Kenneth Muir, John A. Hart, and John Palmer.]

In As You Like It the fool's name indicates his dramatic role: he serves as a touchstone or test of the quality of men and manners, and so helps to poise an otherwise somewhat kaleidoscopic play. For here, as elsewhere, Shakespeare expresses a complex point of view, making the most of the comic as well as of...

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This section contains 834 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the As You Like It Study Guide
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Shakespeare for Students
As You Like It from Shakespeare for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.