Shakespeare and the Construction of Intellectual Disability: The Case of Touchstone

Alice Equestri


In this article I analyse how Shakespeare uses early modern paradigms of intellectual disability to construct the identity of Touchstone, the fool of As You Like It. Although Touchstone is no real fool but simply performs like one, his actions and mocking reflections on the characters he faces expose how Shakespeare was very well acquainted with socio-legal and even medical definitions of natural folly in his time. A reading of the character as a natural fool according to specific paradigms of the period further reveals how Touchstone enacts an expanded 'complex embodiment' of disability.


intellectual disability; fool; early modern; Shakespeare; Touchstone; natural; wise fool

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Copyright (c) 2020 Alice Equestri

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