As You Like It Act 2, Scene 5 Summary & Analysis
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Amiens enters, singing an ode to nature, which invites its listener to “come hither” to the greenwood tree. Jaques persistently begs Amiens to keep singing, despite Amien's warning that it will make him melancholy (Jaques retorts that he could “suck melancholy” out of any song.) Before finishing the song, Amiens mentions that Duke Senior has been looking for Jaques all day, and Jaques admits that he’s been avoiding him.
As in Duke Senior’s initial lines of Act 2, Scene 1, in Amiens’s song here nature is invoked as a positive and welcoming presence. Jaques recognizes his own tendency to toward melancholy, which has already been commented on by the lords around him. But again, though Jaques is serious, almost bragging about his ability to be sad, it is rather silly to be proud of the fact that he can find sorrow in any song.
Jaques hands Amiens a poem he’s written, which describes a man who leaves his wealth to live amongst fools. Amiens sings it aloud. It includes the word “ducdame,” which seems invented, though Jaques claims it to be a Greek word. Jaques and Amiens split ways, the former to “rail against the first-born of Egypt,” and the latter, to find the duke.
Jaques’s poem stands in contrast to Amiens’s first song. While the latter rejoiced in nature and the abandonment of ambition and wealth, the former takes a disdainful attitude toward the same. Yet Jaques poem also includes a made-up ridiculous word, and he’s so over the top that he seems mostly silly.