Why does Touchstone marry Audrey in As You Like It?

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On the face of it, marriage between Touchstone and Audrey seems like a strange idea, to say the least. Apart from the enormous gulf in intelligence between the crafty fool and the ignorant peasant girl, there's the little matter of their decidedly earthy attitudes towards love and lust. One would've thought that Touchstone and Audrey would be better off satisfying their carnal desires outside the confines of traditional marriage.

Yet despite this, Touchstone still feels somewhat uneasy about "living in bawdry" as he puts it. He seems unaccountably attached to the prevailing social convention, which frowns upon sex outside marriage. His reasons for getting hitched to Audrey aren't conventional, to be sure—there's no real love or social advantage involved—but at least he and his intended will be able to present a more respectable facade to the world than they currently do. And for Touchstone, that's important.

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This is rather a baffling question. In Act III scene 3, when Touchstone tries to marry Audrey as quickly as possible, he calls her a "slut," recognising that she has had many relationships before, and also identifies that she will probably be unfaithful to him after their marriage. However, nonetheless, he continues to press ahead, trying to get married as soon as possible. From what we can infer, it appears as if his own lust seems to be acting here. However, overall, we can identify that the marriage between Touchstone and Audrey acts as a kind of anti-Romantic coupling that acts as a foil to the other relationships in the play. Their marriage is a travesty of romantic love and marriage, and the way in which Touchstone uses his education and language to further his lustful advances on Audrey stands in direct contrast to the relationship between Rosalind and Orlando.

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