Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare

Love's Labour's Lost

byWilliam Shakespeare

Kobo ebook | January 21, 2014

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Love's Labour's Lost is one of William Shakespeare's early comedies, believed to have been written in the mid-1590s for a performance at the Inns of Courtbefore Queen Elizabeth. It follows the King of Navarre and his three companions as they attempt to foreswear the company of women for three years of study and fasting, and their subsequent infatuation with the Princess of Aquitaine and her ladies. In an untraditional ending for a comedy, the play closes with the death of the Princess's father, and all weddings are delayed for a year. The play draws on themes of masculine love and desire, reckoning and rationalization, and reality versus fantasy.

Though first published in quarto in 1598, the play's title page suggests a revision of an earlier version of the play. While there are no obvious sources for the play's plot, the four main characters are loosely based on historical figures. The use of apostrophes in the play's title varies in early editions, though it is most commonly given as Love's Labour's Lost.

The historical personages portrayed and the political situation in Europe relating to the setting and action of the play were familiar to Shakespeare's audiences. Scholars suggest that the play lost popularity as these historical and political portrayals of Navarre's court became dated and less accessible to theatergoers of later generations. The play's sophisticated wordplay, pedantic humour and dated literary allusions may also be reasons for its relative obscurity, as compared with Shakespeare's more popular works. Love's Labour's Lost was staged rarely in the 19th century, but it has been seen more often in the 20th and 21st centuries, with productions by both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, among others. It has also been adapted as a musical, an opera, for radio and television and as a musical film.

The King of Navarre and his three noble companions, the lords Berowne, Dumaine, and Longaville, take an oath not to give in to the company of women. They devote themselves to three years of study and fasting; Berowne agrees somewhat more hesitantly than the others. The King declares that no woman should come within a mile of the court. Don Adriano de Armado, a Spaniard visiting the court, comes to tell the King of a tryst between Costard and Jaquenetta. After the King sentences Costard, Don Armado confesses his own love for Jaquenetta to his page, Moth. Don Armado writes Jaquenetta a letter and asks Costard to deliver it.

The Princess of France and her ladies arrive, wishing to speak to the King regarding the cession of Aquitaine, but must ultimately make their camp outside the court due to the decree. In visiting the Princess and her ladies at their camp, the King falls in love with the Princess, as do the lords with the ladies. Berowne gives Costard a letter to deliver to the lady Rosaline, which Costard switches with Don Armado's letter that was meant for Jaquenetta. Jaquenetta consults two scholars, Holofernes and Sir Nathaniel, who conclude that the letter was meant for someone else and gives it to the King.

The King and his lords lie in hiding and watch one another as each subsequently reveals their feelings of love. The King ultimately chastises the lords for breaking the oath, but Berowne reveals that the King is likewise in love with the Princess. Jaquenetta enters, giving Berowne the letter. Berowne declares that the only study worthy of mankind is that of the opposite sex, and he and the other men collectively decide to pursue their loves.

The men arrive at the Princess's camp disguised as Muscovites. The ladies decide to trick the men, dressing as one another. When all identities are righted, they watch a play in which Holofernes, Sir Nathaniel, and Don Amado represent the Nine Worthies. The four lords – as well as the ladies' courtier Boyet – mock the play, and Don Armado and Costard almost come to blows.

Finally, news arrives that the Princess's father has died, and she must leave to take the throne. The king and his nobles swear to remain faithful to their ladies, but the ladies, unconvinced that their love is strong, declare that the men must wait a year and a day to prove what they say is true. The Princess and her ladies depart from the King's court.

Title:Love's Labour's LostFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:January 21, 2014Publisher:Castrovilli GiuseppeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN:9990034373182

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