What is the meaning of this line from As You Like It: "but as all is mortal in nature, so is all nature in love mortal in folly?" Said by Touchstone in Act II,Scene 4

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droxonian eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Touchstone says this as the culmination of a fairly wise rumination on the nature of love. He describes the strange behavior he himself has exhibited when in love, and states that "true lovers run into strange capers." What he is saying in the lines you have quoted, however, is that this foolish phase of love does not continue very long.

To be mortal means, of course, that something has the potential to die or be killed. Everything in nature, then, is mortal; it can die. Touchstone then compares the folly of love to all other natural things. He is saying that, inasmuch as everything that lives in nature is mortal and will eventually succumb to death, so the foolishness of love is "mortal in folly." That is, its folly, or foolishness, is just as mortal as everything else. So, "all nature in love," or all people whose affections have turned to love, may indeed behave foolishly at first, but this folly will die in them before too long. The folly of love is only a brief phase which does not last.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This is the ending line from Touchstone's speech in which he makes fun of lovers and the things they say.  Here, Touchstone is saying that all people who are in love act in stupid ways.  He is also implying, though, that the foolishness does not last.

First, Touchstone says that all in nature is mortal, meaning that everything that is natural will die sometime.  He then says that the nature of love is to be foolish.  This is what he has been trying to get across by all his silliness about kissing cows' udders and such.  Finally, he is saying that the folly of love is mortal just like everything in the natural world.

Overall, then, he is saying something along the lines of "Everything in nature dies sometimes and so does the foolishness of people in love."

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coolshot | Student

Touchstone says thatjust as everything that lives in nature is bound to die,similarly everyone in love is bound to make mistake that are extremely foolish.

touchstone himself has commited many foolies for his love sake such as kissing of the battler by which jane smile used to beat clothes in order to wash them,kissing of cow udders bcoz jane smile used to touch the udders while milking the coe etc...


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