Love's Labour's Lost   View Details   Create a Copy

Love's Labours Lost by William Shakespeare

Love’s Labours Lost is a short comedy by William Shakespeare. In beginning the audience meets the King who is a devout scholar, in the midst of convincing his friends Lord Berowne, Lord Longaville, and Lord Dumaine to take an oath of scholarship with him. However, part of this oath would require the men to avoid contact with women and fast for three years. Two of the Lords are agreeable to the oath however, Lord Berowne has issues with the oath and professes that he does not believe they will be able to uphold it.

Soon after the four men begin their oath the Princess of France announces her arrival. However, the oath states that the men cannot see women therefore they leave and meet the Princess outside of the castle. Comedy ensues when all four men fall in love with the various women from the princess’s court. The King falls in love with the Princess, Berowne falls in love with Rosaline, Longaville falls in love with Maria, and Dumaine falls in love with Katherine. Meanwhile, Don Armando a Spaniard in the King’s court professes he too has fallen in love with Jaquenetta.

As all the men struggle to keep their oath of ‘scholarship’ the each write love letters to the women they are fallen in love with. The men ask Costard, a fool in the king’s court, to deliver the letters. However, he was previously caught by Don Armando companioning with Jaquenetta. Yet the fool Costard accidentally switches the letters that Don Armando and Berowne asked him to deliver to their ladies.

Comedy ensues when the lovesick men converge and accuse each other of breaking their oath, and all end up confessing their love and decide to quit their oath and pursue their ladies. However, after a small prank the ladies played to confuse the men a messenger comes and tells the Princess that her father has died and the ladies leave. Before they go they tell them men to seek them again in a year.

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