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MonkeyNotes-As You Like It by William Shakespeare
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Act III, Scene 3

Summary

This scene is set in another part of the forest, where Touchstone and Audrey are found together. They make an odd pair: the court fool and the dull, country wench. Although Touchstone finds her simple and naïve, he wants to marry her and is trying to persuade her to become his wife. He tells Audrey of his emotions for her, using exalted expressions, which she cannot possibly understand. When Touchstone wishes out loud that the gods had made her poetic, Audrey says that she does not know what poetic means. Touchstone, in his typical style, answers that the truest poetry is the most false one; the words have lots of meaning.

In the end, Audrey agrees to the marriage, and the couple sets out to find Vicar Martext, from the neighboring village, who has agreed to perform the ceremony. Jaques, who has been following the couple, overhears their conversation. In an aside, he comments that Touchstone is a "material fool," even though he has succeeded in convincing Audrey to become his wife. When the Vicar arrives, Jacque agrees to give the bride away in order to make the marriage legal, but he admonishes Touchstone for getting married under a bush like a beggar instead of in a church. Touchstone retorts that it is best if he is not married well; then if the marriage does not work out, he can use it as an excuse to leave his wife. Jaques tells Touchstone he should wait to get married in order to make sure it is what he wants. Finally Touchstone agrees, and the wedding is postponed.

Notes

This humorous scene presents the unromantic side of love. Touchstone has neither love nor admiration for Audrey, a dull- witted country girl who does not know the meaning of poetic; but Touchstone wants to marry her quickly out of lust. He says, "We must be married, or we must live in bawdry." Before she becomes his wife, however, he thinks of eventually leaving her. When Jaques criticizes him for getting married outside under a bush, like a beggar, Touchstone says he can use that as an excuse for later deserting Audrey. The scene is intended to be humorous; it is also a sharp contrast to the permanent and romantic love of Orlando and Rosalind. Unlike Audrey and Touchstone, who are totally mismatched, Orlando and Rosalind are well suited for one another, both in background and in personality. Theirs will be a holy and permanent union, in contrast to the sexual one between Audrey and Touchstone.

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