Study Guide

As You Like It Act 3, Scene 3

By William Shakespeare

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Act 3, Scene 3

Read the full text of As You Like It Act 3 Scene 3 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • Touchstone has been busy finding love of his own with Audrey, a simple shepherd girl. He intends to marry her.
  • As Touchstone fawns over Audrey, Jaques follows. Touchstone woos Audrey with pretty words about poetry and honesty. That's all good, except when we said Audrey was simple, we meant simple. To put it, well, simply, Audrey doesn't get his poetry— it's over her head. Touchstone is fine with that, though.
  • To give you a touch of their bandying, Audrey says she is grateful to the gods that she is foul (ugly), because it means she isn't promiscuous. Touchstone replies he's glad too, and perhaps if they're lucky, "sluttishness may come hereafter." (That's a quote. Seriously.)
  • Touchstone announces that a local vicar, Sir Oliver Martext, has promised to meet the pair in the forest and marry them. So they're making this happen. Like, right now.
  • Touchstone then has a long speech about how Arden is full of "horn-beasts," an allusion to the animals in the forest and to cuckolds. (In Shakespeare's day, there was an awful lot of punning about horns, a classic sign of a cuckolded husband—a guy who has been cheated on by his wife. See "Symbolism" if you want to know more.)
  • Anyway, Touchstone is interrupted from the "horn-beast" speech when Sir Oliver Martext, the vicar, shows up. (Tip: Sir Oliver Martext shouldn't be confused for Orlando's brother Oliver.)
  • The vicar refuses to marry the couple if no one is there to give away the bride.
  • Jaques, who has not left yet, agrees to stand up and give Audrey away. Glad we got that little formality nailed down.
  • Yet we're still not good to go. Jaques points out that Touchstone is a man of the court, and it isn't really fitting that he be married under a bush in the middle of the forest. He really should have a church wedding.
  • Touchstone gives us a saucy aside: If he isn't properly married, it will be easier to leave his wife.
  • In the end, Touchstone calls Audrey away, and says they'll have to wait a little longer to get married...properly.

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