Jaques is a lord in Duke Senior’s party, a man who affects melancholy and whose name sounds the same as another word for ‘chamberpot.’
He seeks out excuses for his melancholic outlook, whether it be asking for more depressing music or looking at a wounded deer. He is nevertheless capable of mocking his fellow lords, is brought to great merriment by meeting Touchstone (without realizing that the jester has been making fun of him), and attempts to get to know every person he meets despite his protestations that he does not much like people. He was once quite the ladies’ man, but now is something close to Duke Senior’s jester, though instead of providing foolery he provides long discourses on the ways of the world and expounds on well-worn clichés such as the Ages of Man. Affected though it may be, and proud of it though he maybe, his melancholy takes a serious turn at the end of the play when he chooses not to join in the reveling accompanying his companions’ restoration to their fortunes, voluntarily excluding himself from happiness so as to go and learn from the converted Duke Frederick.