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Scene 3.3

Scene 3.3 - In the Forest of Arden.

Touchstone comes into a glade accompanied by a new character: Audrey, a shepherdess/goatherder, whom Touchstone is courting. It is quickly apparent that Audrey is none too bright, for she doesn't even understand some of the simple words Touchstone uses, like "features" and "poetical" - and she certainly doesn't understand his fast, complicated puns. Jacques, who has followed them and is now observing from a distance, comments to himself on Touchstone's swiftness of thought. Touchstone himself is disappointed that Audrey is not more intelligent, for he finds it depressing that she never gets his jokes. He also wishes she were not so "honest" - that is, chaste - for if she wasn't, he would be able to sleep with her more easily.
However, Touchstone plans to marry Audrey, and for that purpose he has called Sir Oliver Martext - the vicar, or country priest, from a nearby village. Touchstone rattles on to himself for a while, making meaningful and pun-filled ruminations on marriage - including comparisons between the "horns" of deer and goats, and the "horns" which he says husbands often wear. (In the Renaissance, horns were a universally understood symbol which indicated that a man was a cuckold - that is, someone whose wife was sleeping around on him.)
Sir Oliver Martext arrives, but the wedding is held up because there is no one there to give away the bride. Jacques finally comes out of hiding and offers to participate. Touchstone greets him warmly, reminding him of their earlier meeting in the forest (which Jacques told Duke Senior about in Scene 2.7). But Jacques sternly points out that Sir Martext is not a very well-educated vicar, and that getting married in the woods might not be legal; Touchstone should take Audrey to a real church and find a proper clergyman. Touchstone, privately, is disappointed about this, for he had rather been hoping that the marriage would actually turn out to be illegitimate - then he would have a good excuse if he wanted to leave Audrey later. But, as he explains to Jacques, he must give in to his human desires and needs; just as horses have reins that they must yield to, so he must marry Audrey to have female companionship. They go off to find a real church, and a better priest.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Scene 1.1
Scene 1.2
Scene 1.3
Scenes 2.1, 2.2, 2.3
Scenes 2.4, 2.5, and 2.6
Scene 2.7
Scene 3.1
Scene 3.2
Scene 3.3
Scene 3.4
Scene 3.5
Scene 4.1
Scenes 4.2 and 4.3
Scenes 5.1 and 5.2
Scenes 5.3 and 5.4


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