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Soon all are in smitten and confusion abounds, as each struggles to secretly declare his love in this comedy of deception, desire and mistaken identity. This book contains a general introduction to Shakespeare's life and Elizabethan theatre, a separate introduction to Love's Labours Lost, a chronology, suggestions for further reading, an essay discussing performance options on both stage and screen, and a commentary. He wrote about 38 plays the precise number is uncertain , many of which are regarded as the most exceptional works of drama ever produced, including Romeo and Juliet , Henry V , Hamlet , Othello , King Lear and Macbeth , as well as a collection of sonnets, which number among the most profound and influential love-poetry in English.

Milk and Honey Rupi Kaur. 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 is written by Berowne and instruct her to tell the King.

The King and his lords lie in hiding and watch one another as each subsequently reveals their feelings of love.

Shakespeare, Penguin: Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare (1982, Paperback)

The King ultimately chastises the lords for breaking the oath, but Berowne reveals that the King is likewise in love with the Princess. Jaquenetta and Costard enter with Berowne's letter and accuse him of treason. Berowne confesses to breaking the oath, explaining that the only study worthy of mankind is that of love, and he and the other men collectively decide to relinquish the vow. Arranging for Holofernes to entertain the ladies later, the men then dress as Muscovites and court the ladies in disguise.

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Boyet, having overheard their planning, helps the ladies trick the men by disguising themselves as each other. When the lords return as themselves, the ladies taunt them and expose their ruse.


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Impressed by the ladies' wit, the men apologize, and when all identities are righted, they watch Holofernes, Sir Nathaniel, Costard, Moth, and Don Armado present the Nine Worthies. The four lords — as well as the ladies' courtier Boyet — heckle the play, and Don Armado and Costard almost come to blows when Costard reveals mid-pageant that Don Armado has got Jaquenetta pregnant. Their spat is interrupted by news that the Princess's father has died.

The Princess makes plans to leave at once, and she and her ladies, readying for mourning, declare that the men must wait a year and a day to prove their loves lasting. Don Armado announces he will swear a similar oath to Jaquenetta and then presents the nobles with a song. This means that the witty portrayal of Navarre's court could remain reasonably effective until the assassination of Henry IV in Such considerations suggest that the portrayals of Navarre and the civil-war generals presented Elizabethan audiences not with a mere collection of French names in the news, but with an added dramatic dimension which, once lost, helps to account for the eclipse Love's Labour's Lost soon underwent.

Critics have attempted to draw connections between notable Elizabethan English persons and the characters of Don Armado, Moth, Sir Nathaniel, and Holofernes, with little success. Most modern scholars believe the play was written in or , making it contemporaneous with Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream. The title page states that the play was "Newly corrected and augmented by W. Shakespere," which has suggested to some scholars a revision of an earlier version.

Love's Labour's Won is considered by some to be a lost sequel. The play also features the single longest word in all of Shakespeare's plays: The speech given by Berowne at 4. Shakespeare critic and editor Edward Capell has pointed out that certain passages within the speech seem to be redundant and argues that these passages represent a first draft which was not adequately corrected before going to print. The title is normally given as Love's Labour's Lost.

The use of apostrophes varies in early editions. In the Third Folio it appears for the first time with the modern punctuation and spelling as Love's Labour's Lost. Hale suggests that the witty alliteration of the title is in keeping with the pedantic nature of the play. Love's Labour's Lost abounds in sophisticated wordplay, puns, and literary allusions and is filled with clever pastiches of contemporary poetic forms.

It has never been among Shakespeare's most popular plays, probably because its pedantic humour and linguistic density are extremely demanding of contemporary theatregoers. Masculine desire structures the play and helps to shape its action. The men's sexual appetite manifests in their desire for fame and honour; the notion of women as dangerous to masculinity and intellect is established early on.

The King and his Lords' desires for their idealized women are deferred, confused, and ridiculed throughout the play.

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As the play comes to a close, their desire is deferred yet again, resulting in an increased exaltation of the women. Critic Mark Breitenberg commented that the use of idealistic poetry, popularized by Petrarch , effectively becomes the textualized form of the male gaze. Don Armado also represents masculine desire through his relentless pursuit of Jacquenetta. The theme of desire is heightened by the concern of increasing female sexuality throughout the Renaissance period and the subsequent threat of cuckoldry. Politics of love, marriage, and power are equally forceful in shaping the thread of masculine desire that drives the plot.

The term 'reckoning' is used in its multiple meanings throughout the Shakespeare canon. Though the play entwines fantasy and reality, the arrival of the messenger to announce the death of the Princess's father ultimately brings this notion to a head.


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  • Scholar Cynthia Lewis suggested that the appearance of the final reckoning is necessary in reminding the lovers of the seriousness of marriage. This is presented in stark contrast to the final scene, in which the act of reckoning cannot be avoided. In acknowledging the consequences of his actions, Don Armado is the only one to deal with his reckoning in a noble manner.

    The Lords and the King effectively pass judgement on themselves, revealing their true moral character when mocking the players during the representation of the Nine Worthies. Similar to reckoning is the notion of rationalization, which provides the basis for the swift change in the ladies' feelings for the men.

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    The ladies are able to talk themselves into falling in love with the men due to the rationalization of the men's purported flaws. Lewis concluded that "the proclivity to rationalize a position, a like, or a dislike, is linked in Love's Labour's Lost with the difficulty of reckoning absolute value, whose slipperiness is indicated throughout the play.

    The Lords and the King's declaration of abstinence is a fancy that falls short of achievement. This fantasy rests on the men's idea that the resulting fame will allow them to circumvent death and oblivion, a fantastical notion itself. Within moments of swearing their oath, it becomes clear that their fantastical goal is unachievable given the reality of the world, the unnatural state of abstinence itself, and the arrival of the Princess and her ladies.

    This juxtaposition ultimately lends itself to the irony and humour in the play. The commoners represent the theme of reality and achievement versus fantasy via their production regarding the Nine Worthies. Like the men's fantastical pursuit of fame, the play within a play represents the commoners' concern with fame. The relationship between the fantasy of love and the reality of worthwhile achievement, a popular Renaissance topic, is also utilized throughout the play. Don Armado attempts to reconcile these opposite desires using Worthies who fell in love as model examples.

    Braunmuller, these easy-to-read editions incorporate over thirty years of Shakespeare scholarship undertaken since the original series, edited by Alfred Harbage, appeared between and With definitive texts and illuminating essays, the Pelican Shakespeare will remain a valued resource for students, teachers, and theater professionals for many years to come.

    Shakespeare, Penguin: Love's Labour's Lost by William Shakespeare (, Paperback) | eBay

    For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1, titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators. Also in The Pelican Shakespeare. Also by William Shakespeare.


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