As You Like It: Act 5, Scene 1 - Summary & Analysis

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Act V. Scene I.


Introduction to the Scene

      This scene is an extravagant comic episode and serves two purposes - (1) It contrasts with the close of Act IV. (2) It forms a prelude to the wedding scene.


It is meat and drink to me to see a clown; by my troth, we that have good wits have much to answer for, we shall be flouting, we cannot hold. (Act V, Scene I, Lines 11-14)

      Touchstone and Audrey are talking to each other. So the fifth act opens on a merry note. Touchstone is speaking these words for William, the former lover of Audrey. Foolery is the food of the fools, says Touchstone. It is his hobby to see the foolish persons who can become the butt of his humor. The professional fools have to justify their wit and therefore they want to exercise it (wit) on the fleecy fools like William. When he, says Touchstone, sees a foolish person, he cannot restrain himself from indulging in a joke. No one can bottle him up. He cannot help cracking jokes when he finds a simpleton on whom to grind his wit.

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