Jaques Timeline and Summary
- 2.5: We've only heard of Jaques until now, as the man who wept and waxed philosophic over a suffering deer. When we meet him, he is with Amiens, and begs him to keep singing the song that's jazzing his melancholy mood. Jaques hopes to avoid the Duke. He says they think as much as each other, but that he (Jaques) doesn't "boast" or talk as much as the Duke. Jaques adds a stanza to Amiens's song about a man who leaves his wealth and ease because of a will to please, probably referring to himself. Jaques ends with a chorus of "Ducdame," which he claims it is an ancient Greek call to gather fools, but is in reality just a nonsense word.
- 2.7: Jaques delights in meeting a fool in the forest. He finds the fool's ponderings to be, well, foolish, but is glad to find that fools are so contemplative. Jaques then announces that he wishes to be a fool himself, so that he might have the freedom to say what he will to whomever he wants. As it stands, Jaques is only a sad, wise, and silent man, but to give voice and humor to his ponderings, and to be free of the fear that these ponderings might be stupid, would be grand indeed.
- 2.7: Jaques qualifies himself as more than a judge of individual actions—he doesn't judge any one individual, because all have been foolish and sinful at one point or another. Jaques seems set up as an objective judge of mankind's follies.
- 2.7: Jaques launches into the well-known speech beginning "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." We get a healthy dose of his pessimistic view when he explains his theory of the seven ages of man. Childhood isn't beautiful, but a time to be a whining schoolboy; old age isn't a chance to gladly reflect on life, but a time to contemplate death without any of the good mortal senses. To get the full effect, though, you really need to read it for yourself.
- 3.2: Jaques is hanging with Orlando, who has just spent all this time writing poetry about Rosalind for the trees. Jaques is mean but funny in dealing with Orlando; neither of them like each other and neither pretends otherwise. Jaques complains of big and little things, down to not liking Rosalind's name, and he finally seizes on Orlando's unhappiness to ask whether he wouldn't like to get together and rail against the world and their collective misery. Orlando turns down that offer of a fun time, and Jaques notes that the youth's biggest fault is his being in love. This isn't a very deep fault, so Jaques doesn't find Orlando particularly interesting.
- 3.3: Jaques has somehow ended up with Audrey and Touchstone as the fool contrives to get married. Jaques isn't terribly supportive. He agrees to give Audrey away, but then rails on Touchstone. As he is a man of the court, Jaques doesn't see it as fitting for Touchstone to be married under a bush. Jaques here relates some of his courtly dignity, though it's a little obnoxious that he gets in the way of their marriage.
- 4.1: Jaques, surprisingly social, would like to get to know Rosalind/Ganymede better. Rosalind/Ganymede doesn't have anything nice to say, and thinks Jaques's stance of being sad and silent makes him no better than a fencepost. Jaques then goes off on the different types of melancholy he's seen, and agrees with Rosalind that his particular brand of melancholy comes of being a traveler—the more you've seen of the world, the easier it is to be disappointed with it. Still, he wouldn't trade the money he gave up for the experience he's earned. (Maybe even Jaques can spot a silver lining.)
- 4.2: Uncharacteristically, Jaques leads everyone to celebrate the dead deer as part of a spectacle. Still, the song that is sung is fitting to Jaques's character. It also celebrates the past and tradition, which it seems Jaques has a thing for. Also, the deer is dead, which is melancholy.
- 5.4: Jaques gladly sees Touchstone as part of the group, and announces he's the fool Jaques finds amusing, in a cynical sort of way. He then banters around with Touchstone. It's clear that Touchstone doesn't take himself seriously on any of the issues Jaques is all uptight about, so Jaques's meticulousness only looks more absurd.
- 5.4: Jaques confirms that Duke Frederick has left the pomp of the court for a religious life instead. He doesn't stay to celebrate all the weddings, but decides to go off and join Duke Frederick, thinking there's much to be heard and learned as a scholarly hermit. He gives them all his blessing, in some sort of way. His final statement is that, while everyone else returns from the forest to court, he'll stay in Duke Senior's abandoned cave, to learn all the stuff they'll miss out on.