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CHARACTERIZATION OF JACQUES IN SHAKESPEARE'S "AS YOU LIKE IT"
JACQUES CHARACTER IN "AS YOU LIKE IT"
Jacques, in the play, “As You Like It” is another of Shakespeare’s outstanding creation. He is the courtier turned philosopher, who accompanied the Duke Senior and blossomed in the mesmerizing Forest of Arden. Although he is more of an outsider in the play and not involved in the main plot, yet, it can surely be said that without him the play wouldn’t be as attractive as it is.
He is a sensitive man who is a very keen observer of the world around him. We see how he gets upset when the animals in the Forest are hunted for food by his companions, further; he also criticizes Orlando for ruining the tree barks by his poor quality of verses that he had composed for Rosalind. He represents a particular psychological temperament and desires to reform and purify the world of all evils. He is a critic, a commentator and an analyst who is held in high esteem by the Duke Senior himself. Although his presence weakens the spirit of romance yet his speeches and remarks, at times, have great depths. We see hoe he explains a man’s journey from his birth to death with great understanding realism and deep meaning.
He is greatly impressed and amused by Touchstone and wants to enjoy the same freedom. He is a self-imposed fool who wouldn’t let go off any opportunity to criticize or satirizes. Although he, himself, also becomes the victim of criticism at the hands of Orlando, Rosalind and the Duke several times.
He holds quite a pessimistic view of life and the world. He is way too gloomy at times. At a particular instance he says:
“Most friendship is feigning, most love a mere folly.”
However, he fails to notice that Adam, a toothless man of about eighty, accompanies his master to the wilderness of the Forest purely out of his own will. Also Celia abandons all the comforts of the court and places self-exile on herself to come to the Forest with Rosalind. Furthermore, Touchstone also leaves the court and serves his mistresses with devotion in times of need.
By the end of the play we see his great strength of character. He really turns out to be one who follows what he preaches. Of all the dwellers of the Forest, he is the only one who makes a choice to stay back and therefore, proves to be most faithful to the idea of the pastoral. He denounces the courtly life in order to learn more about the truth and the unknown.
In view of all this, we can clearly envision Jacques’ indispensable role in the play. Even without making him a part of the main plot, Shakespeare has put in this character enough to ensure that the audience can’t help but notice and admire him.