As You Like It Act III, Scenes 3-5
by William Shakespeare

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Act III, Scenes 3-5

New Characters
Audrey: a countly wench

Sir Oliver Martext: a clergyman

Phebe: a shepherdess who dwells near the Forest of Arden

Touchstone, in a merry mood, enters with Audrey, a goatherd who lives near the Forest of Arden. Jaques also arrives on the scene; he stands aside, eavesdropping on their conversation. Touchstone attempts to woo Audrey, asking, "Am I the man yet? Doth my simple feature content you?" His witticisms are lost on the simple country goatherd, who does not understand the meaning of the word "poetical." Touchstone has no illusions about Audrey's morals; he suspects her of being a "foul slut." Audrey protests that she is not "a slut," but she adds, "I thank the gods I am foul." Jaques, in a series of asides, comments cynically on the scene that is unfolding.

Touchstone tells Audrey that he has met with Sir Oliver Martext, a clergyman who lives nearby. Sir Oliver has promised to meet him in the forest to perform a marriage ceremony. Touchstone realizes, however, that after he is married to Audrey she is likely to be unfaithful to him. He wittily resigns himself to this fact.

Sir Oliver Martext arrives and Touchstone asks him to officiate at the wedding, but Sir Oliver comments that the marriage will not be lawful unless someone is there to give the bride away. Jaques immediately steps forward to volunteer his services. He comments that a man of Touchstone's "breeding" should not be "married under a bush like a beggar" and urges him to go to a church, where a "good priest" might marry him. Touchstone, in an aside, remarks that he prefers to be married by Sir Oliver, for the marriage might not be legal, thus leaving him free to abandon his wife and make a better marriage. He agrees to listen to Jaques' advice, however, and proclaims, "Come, sweet Audrey./ We must be married, or we must live in bawdry" He exits with Jaques and Audrey, singing merrily, while a bewildered Sir Oliver stares after them.

In Scene 4, Rosalind, close to tears, worries that Orlando may have forsaken her because he has not arrived at the scheduled time for their meeting. Celia reminds her that tears are inappropriate to her masculine disguise; she reassures her cousin that Orlando is simply attending Duke Senior. Rosalind tells Celia that she had met the Duke the previous day. Her father had not recognized her in her disguise, and when the Duke inquired of her parentage, Rosalind answered wittily that it was "as good as he."

Corin enters and tells Rosalind and Celia that Silvius, the lovelorn shepherd they had often asked about, is at that moment wooing Phebe, the shepherdess he loves. Corin remarks that if they would care to "see a pageant truly played/Between the pale complexion of true love/ And the red glow of scorn and proud disdain" they are welcome to accompany him. Rosalind agrees, commenting: "The sight of lovers feedeth those in love./ Bring us to this sight, and you shall say/ I'll prove a busy actor in their play."

Scene 5 takes place in a nearby part of the forest. Silvius begs the disdainful Phebe for even the smallest kindness: "Sweet Phebe, do not scorn me; do not, Phebe!/ Say that you love me not, but say not so/ In bitterness." Rosalind, Celia, and Corin enter and observe their conversation from a distance. Silvius tells Phebe that if she falls in love one day she will sympathize with his anguish. However Phebe tells him bluntly, "till that time/ Come not near me .... As till that time I shall not pity thee."

At this point, Rosalind steps forward to interrupt their conversation. She angrily chastises Phebe for being "proud and pitiless," and she tells Silvius that he is foolish to pursue Phebe, since Silvius is "a thousand times a properer man/ Than she is a woman." Phebe, Rosalind remarks, should be thankful to have a good man's love, since she is not the charming beauty she thinks herself to be. "Sell when you can," Rosalind admonishes her, "you are not for all markets." She urges Phebe to love Silvius and to "take his offer" of...

(The entire section is 1,396 words.)