The Countess and her clown/servant, Lavache, discourse on the subject of the "court," where he is shortly to be sent on an errand. This comical interlude has a threefold function: (1) as a bridge, (2) as an emotional and thematic gloss on the scenes either side of it, and (3) as a simple entertainment in itself. Remember, Shakespeare's comic actors were given room for improvisation, and hence a scene like this one, obliquely satirizing courtly manners, could be largely visual in the person of the clown preparing himself to make an appearance before a group of courtiers. While practicing the art of foppishly affected speech — the inanely repeated "universal answer" to every question is "O Lord, sir!" — the clown is no doubt also training himself physically, in highly artificial, dance-like movements. This, Shakespeare seems to be saying, is the world to which Bertram wants to attach himself. At first, Parolles, Bertram, and Lafeu are alone on stage, responding in awe to the healing of the
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Bertram, thy love shuns, Thy frank election, Thou hast power, hand. Bertram