As You Like It | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Course Hero. "As You Like It Study Guide." July 13, 2017. Accessed December 14, 2017. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/As-You-Like-It/.

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Course Hero, "As You Like It Study Guide," July 13, 2017, accessed December 14, 2017, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/As-You-Like-It/.

As You Like It | Act 5, Scene 1 | Summary

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Summary

Audrey is impatient to be married, and Touchstone reassures her that it will happen. However, Touchstone has a rival for Audrey's love, a country youth called William in whom she claims she has no interest. William arrives and greets them, and Touchstone immediately begins to quiz him on what he has to offer: Is he rich? Is he wise? Does he love Audrey? Is he educated? He then delivers a lesson in philosophy, "Learn this of me: to have is to have," and explains that it is he, Touchstone, who will have (marry) Audrey, and not William. He then dismisses the youth in a condescending fashion and threatens to kill him if he comes near Audrey again. Audrey urges William to go, and he does so without putting up a fight. Corin enters to fetch the pair at Rosalind's request.

Analysis

Here Shakespeare presents yet another example of romantic love, the inconstant lover. William says he loves Audrey, yet he puts up no fight to keep her when threatened by Touchstone. It's possible he gives way to common sense in this decision—after all Audrey has thrown her lot in with Touchstone and is not interested in William. It's also possible that he was willing to woo her when he had no rivals but decides she just isn't worth the bother of a fight when it comes down to it. Either way William does perhaps ignite in Touchstone a deeper affection for Audrey, whom he has previously considered rather lightly. While he initially wanted a fake marriage so that he could leave her eventually, now Touchstone is willing to fight for her so that they can be properly married. The scene also gives Touchstone an opportunity to break out his snobbish wit in his condescending speech to the simple country lad—an opportunity he thoroughly enjoys. The reader might even suspect that he is putting on a show of power in order to impress Audrey with his manliness.

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