What is Touchstone's function in the play?

enotes | Student

Touchstone is one of the many "fools" who populate Shakespeare's comedies, romances, and tragedies. Touchstone has absolutely no part in the central proceedings of the play, nor does he represent any distinct worldview, outlook or ideology as Jaques embodies affected pessimism. As his name connotes, the clown of As You Like It is a "touchstone" to the other characters, for he tests their perspectives and their pretensions with his humor. Touchstone mixes the altruistic with the expedient; he readily abandons his service to the evil Duke Frederick to go with Rosalind and Celia into the forest, but he has little real choice in the matter. Touchstone takes what life presents him without any anguish, the ease of his courtship of and marriage to Audrey standing in sharp contrast to the overly complicated affair between Silvius and Phebe.

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As You Like It

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