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In Shakespeare's As You Like It, the characters of Jacques and Touchstone could be said to be mirror images of one another. They both play the role of the fool; they both receive attention for their musings and pronouncements, yet they represent different aspects of the same character. Touchstone is lightly mocking; he sees the humor in everything and he works that to his advantage. He is self-consciously witty, and his obvious attempts to be funny tend to lift the spirits of those around him. He is a good foil for Rosalind, who can use him (as well as poor lovesick Orlando) to practice her verbal skills and sharpen her wit.
In contrast to Touchstone, Jacques is funny inadvertently; he does not even realize it. He is so caught up in the twists and turns of his own mind that he cannot see the humor in things, which, ironically, makes him a comic character. Shakespeare does give Jacques one of the best speeches in the play and one of his most famous - the "all the world's a stage" speech. Jacques's character is given to melancholy, and when he and Touchstone are together they play off one another's different styles and create a kind of balance between the ridiculous and the sublime.k
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