As You Like It

touchstone is the official fool in the play. bring out the implication of this view

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The fool was not a new character on stage. Indeed, a tradition of had long prevailed in aristocratic courts. The jester, however, was a dynamic and changing part of royal entertainment. Shakespeare both borrowed from the new motif of the jester and contributed to its rethinking. Whereas the jester of old often regaled his audience with forms of clowning – tumbling, juggling, stumbling, and the like – Shakespeare's fool, in sync with Shakespeare's revolutionary ideas about theatre, began to depart from a simple way of representation. Like other characters, the fool began to speak outside of the narrow confines of exemplary morality, to address themes of love, psychic turmoil, and all of the innumerable themes that arise in Shakespeare, and indeed, modern theater.The problem of considering Jaques as a fool arises when we compare him to Touchstone, the “official” fool of the play, who is an inteligent and wity fool; the archetypical fool in Shakespeare plays: one that hides his intelligent and socially insightful commentaries under a humorous veil so as to critizise the world sorrounding him, in the words of William Willeford “two-dimensionality belongs to the essence of the fool. But it is not the whole of that essence: the surface of folly sometimes breaks open to reveal surprising depths”[1]. The main problem lays on the fact that Jaques lacks the critical insight that makes Touchstone´s comments so intelligent and revealing and therefore, he sometimes seems a bit ridiculous or as being out of place in the Forest of Arden.