( England: In William Shakespeare As You Like It: c. 1599-1600)
Touchstone in William Shakespeare As You Like It (AYLI) begins as a shrewd but inefficacious fool at the dangerous court of Frederick, usurper of the dukedom of Frederick's older brother, Duke Senior, now exiled in the Forest of Arden. Touchstone mockingly questions the honor of an associate of Frederick ( 1. 2.59-76) and wrestling as fit court entertainment for Frederick's daughter Celia and niece Rosalind, Duke Senior's daughter (123-125). But when Duke Frederick enters and speaks churlishly to the assembled group (135-214), Touchstone is quiet, mute testimony to Celia's comment that "since the little wit that fools have was silenced, the little foolery that wise men have makes a great show" (82-85).
Touchstone is less reticent in AYLI's remaining four acts, which take place in the Forest of Arden, to which Celia and Rosalind take him as they flee Frederick. A tenth of the lines are his ( Spevack909). Other characters praise the pastoral surroundings; not so Touchstone, the sensible bad traveler, who observes, "When I was at home I was in a better place" ( 2. 4.15-16). He maintains this view, first confounding the shepherd Corin with arguments showing court ways superior to country ways ( 3. 2.11-81) and then the rustic William, a rival suitor for Touchstone's country-bred beloved, Audrey ( 5. 1.10-58). Other characters delight in the romantic and spiritual dimensions of love, particularly Rosalind, who is worshiped by another exile, Orlando; not so Touchstone. His apparently purely sensual attraction to Audrey reminds everyone of the sexual