I thank it. More, I prithee, more. I can suck melancholy out of a song as a weasel sucks eggs. More, I prithee, more. (2.5.12–14)

Jaques tells Amiens he wants to hear more of the bittersweet song she is singing about the woods in winter. Amiens warns Jaques that her continued song will only make him sadder, but Jaques tells her he doesn’t care. Jaques claims to feed on melancholy, just like a weasel feeds on eggs. Ironically, his jubilant eagerness for more sadness indicates that his melancholy disposition is an affectation—put-on more than genuinely felt.

Give me leave 
To speak my mind, and I will through and through 
Cleanse the foul body of th’ infected world, 
If they will patiently receive my medicine. (2.7.60–63)

Jaques wants Duke Senior to give him the title of fool and allow him the freedom to share his true thoughts with the world. Duke Senior seems doubtful, since he thinks all Jaques will do is use his power as fool to call others out on their faults—faults of which he himself is guilty. Thus, rather than “cleans[ing] the foul body of th’ infected world” with his “medicine,” Jaques would simply pollute the world further by injecting his poison. As Duke Senior recognizes, such a caustic attitude doesn’t befit a the role of a licensed fool.

The worst fault you have is to be in love. (3.2.286)

While verbally sparring with Orlando, Jaques points out that the young man’s greatest fault is being in love with Rosalind. With this line, Jaques confirms our sense of him as a cynic who, in his affected melancholy, rejects all the trappings of romantic love. Rather than be in relationship, he would prefer to be alone. In fact, Jaques makes this point quite blatantly elsewhere in this same exchange. He tells Orlando, “I thank you for your company, but, good faith, I had as lief have been myself alone” (3.2.258–59). Amusingly, Orlando responds with a similarly artificial sociability: “And so had I, but yet, for fashion sake, I thank you too for your society” (3.2.260–61).

I am so. I do love it better than laughing. (4.1.5)

Rosalind, disguised as Ganymede, pretends she doesn’t know Jaques and has asked him to tell her more about himself. She’s heard that he’s “a melancholy fellow” (4.1.3–4), and he confirms this identification, telling her he likes being sad more than he likes laughing. Jaques, who prides himself on seeing others’ flaws, lacks the self-awareness to see the irony of his own affectation. Though philosophically against love and joy, he evidently has a joyful affection for his own moroseness.

[I]t is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness. (4.1.18–22)

Jaques speaks to Rosalind about the novel nature of his melancholy. He claims to be in possession of a unique form of melancholy that’s unknown to either scholar, musician, courtier, soldier, layer, lady, or lover. Instead, his melancholy is the result of erudite study, reflection, and solitude. The refinement he associates with his sullen disposition again shows that his melancholy is little more than a fashionable affectation.

There is sure another flood toward, and these couples are coming to the ark. Here comes a pair of very strange beasts, which in all tongues are called fools. (5.4.36–39)

Jaques, reflecting upon the resolution of many happy couples, remarks how they all look like a band of fools. With reference to the biblical story of Noah’s Ark, he claims another flood must be coming, since the “strange beasts” have paired off and are now “coming to the ark.” At the play’s end, Jaques is the only character not to have become entangled in the snares of romantic love. Still overly critical of all relationships, he remains single and and outsider—a status he acknowledges in his refusal to return to court. Instead, he will follow Duke Frederick by withdrawing into the ascetic life of a hermit.