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Act V, Scene 1
This scene opens with Touchstone and Audrey on stage. Audrey is whining about the fact that their marriage has been delayed by Touchstone. He tries to change the conversation, asking her about the other young man who claims to love her. At that moment, William, the other young man, enters. Touchstone interrogates him about his age, upbringing, and education. Then with a pompous flurry of words, he threatens to kill William if he does not "abandon the society of this female." The poor country shepherd is thoroughly terrified and quickly departs. Corin then enters and tells them that the master and mistress (Ganymede and Aliena) have sent for them. Audrey and Touchstone rush towards their cottage.
This scene is filled with humor. As it opens, Audrey frets about her postponed wedding and fears she will never get Touchstone to the altar. Touchstone tries to change the subject by asking Audrey about the other young man who supposedly loves her. Then William himself enters, and Touchstone verbally attacks him. His use of exaggerated metaphors in threatening the poor shepherd is totally unwarranted and creates effective humor. The dull-witted Audrey, however, is impressed by Touchstone's performance.
It is obvious that Shakespeare intentionally creates the real country characters, like Audrey, William, and Corin, to be totally naïve and unsophisticated. They rarely speak, and when they do their sentences are short and terse. They are a complete contrast to the "foreigners" in the forest, like Orlando, Rosalind, Celia, and Duke Senior, who are simply enamored with pastoral living, but retain the sophistication that they learned at court.