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Drama: Love's Labour's Lost (Winter 2019)

Starting points for research in drama


"Love's Labour's Lost (c. 1594-95) is considered one of Shakespeare's minor comedies. Ferdinand, king of Navarre, and his lords Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine pledge to eschew women and other worldly pleasures for three years in order to pursue a rigorous regime of study, hoping to acquire wisdom and fame. Their oath is immediately tested when the princess of France and her ladies Rosaline, Maria, and Katharine arrive on a diplomatic mission. One by one, the men break their vows and fall in love, only to learn at the conclusion of the play that the princess's father has died. With this intrusion of reality into the charmed world of Navarre, the ladies depart and impose a year's separation from their suitors to test their sincerity and eligibility. Some critics vieLove's Labour's Lost as Shakespeare's worst play, and often deride it for haphazard characterization and a weak plot. Critics identify central thematic concerns of the play to be courtly love and the relationship between illusion and reality."
- Michelle Lee, from vol.98 of Shakespearean Criticism (2006)


Playscript: 14 different online editions of the play from the original folio to late 19th century editions.

The 1940s in America

Love's Labour's Lost