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Love’s Labour’s Lost by William…

Love’s Labour’s Lost (edition 1925)

by William Shakespeare (Author), Wilbur L. Cross (Editor), Tucker Brooke (Editor)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,826226,132 (3.48)60
A play replete with puns and double-entendres, this is one of Shakespeare's earliest and most lighthearted. The young king of Navarre and three of his courtiers have vowed to lock themselves away for three years of study and fasting, and to forswear the company of women for this period. No sooner is their vow made than it is tested, however, as the princess of France and three of her ladies arrive in Navarre on a diplomatic mission. The young men fall instantly and hopelessly in love, and the tension between their vow and their passion forms the subject of this charming and sparkling early comedy.… (more)
Title:Love’s Labour’s Lost
Authors:William Shakespeare (Author)
Other authors:Wilbur L. Cross (Editor), Tucker Brooke (Editor)
Info:New Haven, Yale University Press. Third printing, May 1960.
Collections:Moorestown, Currently reading
Tags:drama, british, 16c, elizabethan, comedy, Shakespeare, Yale Shakespeare

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Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare



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Title: Love's Labour's Lost
Series: ----------
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Play, Comedy
Pages: 98
Format: Digital Edition


King Ferdinand, 3 of his lords and a Spaniard, all take a vow to study, fast and avoid women for 3 years. Of course, King Ferdinand forgets that he's supposed to be welcoming a French Princess into his court. She and her ladies arrive, are forced to decamp outside of the city and all the men fall instantly in love with the ladies.

They write love letters, lie to each other, all catch each other out, unsuccessfully woo the ladies as Russians (I kid you not) and then, just when they are about to successfully win the ladies as themselves, the Princess's father dies and the ladies all retire for a year.

Throw in some mouthy servants and smart ass pages and bob's your uncle.

My Thoughts:

A lot of the humor of this play was based on the reparte between the men amongst themselves, the ladies amongst themselves and then amongst them all as a group. They cut, they swipe, they're snide and pompous. It didn't work for me at all.

The servants should have been whipped to death for their insolence or at least muzzled. The men were idiots for taking such an oath in the first place and then to watch them each perjure themselves was just disgraceful. The women were cold and playing it all as a game when they should have been much more serious.

All in all, if a dragon had walked on stage and eaten every character, I would have stood up, cheered my head off and then run off as fast as I could before the dragon ate me. I am beginning to suspect that I don't like Shakespeare's style or sense of humor.

★★☆☆☆ ( )
1 vote BookstoogeLT | Sep 5, 2018 |
This is an early play, so Shakespeare's chops are just emerging. Some elements are confusing (FOUR couples courting, FOUR mixed-missives! Really?) But this is a hilarious rumination on the value of an academic life versus falling in love and...well, we all know the rest... ( )
  LaurelPoe | Dec 25, 2017 |
Definitely, definitely now one of my most favourite of Shakespeare's. Absolutely hilarious and very clever, an absolute joy to study in class, and one of those plays where a lot of the jokes are still funny to a modern audience (as compared with Much Ado, where a lot of the wordplays and references Elizabethans thought were a riot just aren't so amusing to us now). ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
A king and his gentlemen vow to remain celibate, studious and moderate in their habits for three years to improve their minds. They have signed their names to this vow. Oops! They forgot that an embassy from France was due soon, consisting of a princess and her ladies! Shenanigans ensue. And wordplay, such wordplay!

What seemed at first a fairly shallow and cynical plot, developed by the end to be a story of depth. No fools these women, they understood these men better than the men understood themselves, and called them on their foolishness. Shakespeare leaves the ending undecided, as the twelve month penance the men are given by the women is "too long for a play." ( )
  MrsLee | Feb 14, 2017 |
The 2000 film of this play got me in trouble because I was laughing so loudly at Shakespeare; I was told after the film, "Everybody in this room HATES you." (Guess Americans are not s'posed to laugh at Great Drama--or poetry, either.)
Arguably Shakespeare's most Shakespearean play, or interplay: the exchanges of wit, what he would have overheard at Middle Temple and among his fellow actors. Rather than the text, I'll comment on Branagh's musical version, with himself as Berowne and Director, Scorsese as producer. It's hilarious, especially for a Shakespearean; I laughed throughout so much (my laugh scares babies) one lady in the audience 25 came up to me after the film to kindly inform, "Everybody in this room HATES you." I thanked her for the admonition.
Very slow, stagey opening lines by the Prince. Dunno why. They cut the poetry criticism, and substitute the American songbook--Gershwin, Berlin--for poems. The Don Armado stuff (with Moth his sidekick) is broad, not literary: mustachioed, funny body, melancholy humor. Armado's the most overwritten love-letter, parodying catechism; but he is standard Plautine Braggart Soldier ("Miles Gloriosus") by way of commedia dell'arte. Then the Plautine Pedant (commedia Dottore) Holofernia crosses gender, a female professor type. Costard wears a suit, maybe a Catskills standup.
Branagh cuts the Russian (or fake-Russian) lingo, "muoosa-Cargo" of the masked entrance.
Wonderful 30's film cliches: female swimmers, the dance scenes, the prop plane's night takeoff. Ends with WWII, grainy newsreel footage of the year, after news of the French Princess's father's death.
Berowne (pronounced .."oon") is sentenced privately "to move wild laughter in the throat of death…" His judge, Rosaline, points out the Bard' instruction on jokes: "A jest's prosperity lies in the ear / Of him that hears it, never in the tongue / Of him that makes it" (V.end). LLL ends with death and winter (the Russian an intimation?): "When icicles hang by the wall,/ And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,/ And Tom bears logs into the hall,/ And milk comes frozen home in pails.." and the owl talks, "Tu-whit..Tu whoo, a merry note/ While greasy Joan doth keel the pot." That's the European Tawny Owl (male and female must combine for it) so an American director might replace with the same prosody, "Who cooks for youuu?"(the Barred Owl).
In the penultimate scene, Dull is onstage the whole scene nere speaking a word until Holofernes says, "Thou hast spoken no word the while," to which Dull, "Nor understood none neither, sir."
Well, no wonder, if he has no Latin, for Costard offers, "Go to, thou has it AD dunghill…as they say." Hol, "Oh, I smell false Latin--dunghill for UNGUEM." The Bard kindly explains the Latin joke, essential for modern American readers.
Incidentally, Berowne uses Moliere-like rhymed couplets in his social satire on Boyet, V.ii.315ff. His most daring rhymes, "sing/ushering" and maybe "debt/Boyet." ( )
  AlanWPowers | Oct 21, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (46 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shakespeare, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brooke, C. F. TuckerEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Craft, KinukoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cross, Wilbur L.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
David, RichardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Furness, Horace HowardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harbage, AlfredEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hart, H. C.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holland, PeterEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rolfe, William J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Straat, E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woudhuysen, H. R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives,
Live register'd upon our brazen tombs
And then grace us in the disgrace of death;
When, spite of cormorant devouring Time,
The endeavor of this present breath may buy
That honour which shall bate his scythe's keen edge
And make us heirs of all eternity.
A man in all the world's new fashion planted,

That hath a mint of phrases in his brain.
He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument.
They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps.
A jest's prosperity lies in the ear

Of him that hears it, never in the tongue

Of him that makes it.
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Disambiguation notice
This work is for the complete Love's Labour's Lost only. Do not combine this work with abridgements, adaptations or "simplifications" (such as "Shakespeare Made Easy"), Cliffs Notes or similar study guides, or anything else that does not contain the full text. Do not include any video recordings. Additionally, do not combine this with other plays.
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