In As You Like It, analyze the following quote from Touchstone in Act III scene 2."Truly, shepherd, in respect of itself, it is a good life; but in respect that it is a shepherd's life it is naught."

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This quote comes at the beginning of the conversation between Touchstone and Corin, who in this scene debate the various merits of country living vs. living in the court. The quote you have highlighted is Touchstone's first comment, which clearly indicates his preference for court life compared to the delights of living in the countryside. A major theme in the play is how these two spheres compare to each other, and here in this quote we see Touchstone displaying typical cleverness and rhetoric in order to advance his argument. However, what is interesting is that if we analyse the argument that Touchstone and Corin have, where Corin argues that country living is superior and then Touchstone argues that court living is imminently better, in spite of Touchstone's sophistication and learning, it is Corin that sets out the better, simpler and more effective argument. Rather than the argument being resolved, it is clear that both types of living have their relative merits, and in spite of Touchstone's belief of the superiority of court life, the two ways of living both must co-exist happily.

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