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CHARACTERIZATION OF TOUCHSTONE IN SHAKESPEARE'S "AS YOU LIKE IT"
Shakespeare's "As You Like It” is an embodiment of several remarkably created characters, one of them being Touchstone who is a very popular and appealing figure in the play.
Touchstone is a professional fool at the court who is responsible for creating humor in the play. He is witty, sarcastic, funny and a humorist. His presence generates a lighter moment and he ensures that he is not absent for long. He is a very likable person at the court and is in the good books of both Celia and Rosalind. When the two girls decide to run away, he is the only person they choose to take with them. He, too, greatly honors them and abandons the comforts of the court for them.
He exercises his wit without restraint. Once outside, in the forest, he denounces courtly life. He is a critic, who is crude and direct which is why he also proves to be a great inspiration for the cynical Jacques. Jacques whishes to become like him and enjoy the same freedom. It is only after meeting him that Jacques thinks of curing the world of all evils.
Touchstone is a wise satirical fool who exercises his wit through parody. He satirizes almost all characters and no one can escape his criticism.
He gives a great boost to the pastoral by winning Audrey for marriage as both of them are truly figures of the pastoral; however, he dilutes the theme of romantic love in this play. he is crude and rough in his courting and his romance and marriage is surely a parody of the courtship of all the other pairs. His is an anti romantic courtship and he is realistic and frank enough that the mere purpose of marriage for men is to fulfill his carnal desires. His wits are penetrating enough to see through the deceptive mask of romantic lovers.
Touchstone remains to be the pure and undying source of comic relief, thereby fulfilling the purpose of the comedy as well as proving his own importance. He is an expert at satire and punning and therefore, even conveys serious ideas and speculations in a lighter tone. He exposes the drawbacks of nobility as well as comments on courtly and pastoral life-all in a very hilarious manner. He remains to be a critic, a counselor, a communicator and a connection between almost all characters.
Touchstone is indeed an indispensable part of the play,who succeeds in winning applause from all. He is not just a simple court fool but his personality has several different aspects. he is a wise fool, an expert humorist ,a brutal and frank lover, a realistic critic, witty and carefree. All these qualities when put together not only establish Touchstone as an extremely pivotal character of the play but also make him a very magnetizing figure.