Touchstone (As You Like It)

Touchstone (As You Like It)

Overview
Touchstone is an interesting fictional character in Shakespeare's play As You Like It
As You Like It
As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the folio of 1623. The play's first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility...

. Touchstone is the court fool or jester, portrayed as a wise man with a dry, cynical wit. Throughout the play he comments on the other characters of the play and thus, contributes to a better understanding of the play. Touchstone falls in love with a dull-witted goat girl named Audrey, and tries to seduce her. William, an oafish country boy, makes clumsy attempts to woo her as well, but is driven off by Touchstone, who threatens to kill him "a hundred and fifty ways." Eventually Touchstone marries Audrey, but a prediction is made that the relationship will not last.

In Shakespeare's Clown, David Wiles suggests that Robert Armin
Robert Armin
Robert Armin was an English actor, a member of the Lord Chamberlain's Men. He became the leading comedy actor with the troupe associated with William Shakespeare following the departure of Will Kempe around 1600...

 played the part of Touchstone in the first productions of As You Like It
As You Like It
As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the folio of 1623. The play's first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility...

(145).
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Encyclopedia
Touchstone is an interesting fictional character in Shakespeare's play As You Like It
As You Like It
As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the folio of 1623. The play's first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility...

. Touchstone is the court fool or jester, portrayed as a wise man with a dry, cynical wit. Throughout the play he comments on the other characters of the play and thus, contributes to a better understanding of the play. Touchstone falls in love with a dull-witted goat girl named Audrey, and tries to seduce her. William, an oafish country boy, makes clumsy attempts to woo her as well, but is driven off by Touchstone, who threatens to kill him "a hundred and fifty ways." Eventually Touchstone marries Audrey, but a prediction is made that the relationship will not last.

In Shakespeare's Clown, David Wiles suggests that Robert Armin
Robert Armin
Robert Armin was an English actor, a member of the Lord Chamberlain's Men. He became the leading comedy actor with the troupe associated with William Shakespeare following the departure of Will Kempe around 1600...

 played the part of Touchstone in the first productions of As You Like It
As You Like It
As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the folio of 1623. The play's first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility...

(145). The addition of Armin to the Chamberlain's Men in 1599 and the character of Touchstone marked the beginning of a series of court fool characters; these characters differed greatly from earlier Shakespearean fools because their humour is mainly derived from the fool's wit and intellect. The earlier fools of this period were often nothing but stooges.