“Love’s Labour Lost” by William Shakespeare

One of his lesser known works, I would rank Love’s Labour Lost in my top three favourite Shakespeare plays–I’ve yet to read them all, however.  This is definitely a comedy, full of very witty characters (especially the women).   It is the story of four friends, one of them a king, who contract to fast (partially) from food and from women (wholly) for the sake of attaining true enlightenment.  The contract is signed before they remember that the princess of a neighboring country is coming on business.  As per their contract, the king asks that she and her ladies maids stay out of doors; but alas, we find that she somehow enters his heart.  Each of the men fall for one of the ladies (how convenient there were four!), and tries to hide his feelings from his comrades to no avail.  Slowly their treachery is revealed to the others and the men scramble to find a witty way out of keeping their contract.  Once decided on a course of action, they approach the women, but are rebuffed because the women do not take them seriously (though who would…they hardly knew each other!).  Interestingly, the play does not end with happily ever after, but with hopefully ever after.  I appreciated that the women were both witty and wise; and also that the men–though ardent–were expected to “prove” themselves.   I must admit the play made a lot more sense after I had seen the BBC version of it…timing and intonation is crucial to the understanding of any of Shakespeare’s plays. My other two favorites are: Much Ado about Nothing and The Taming of the Shrew.  Which is your favorite of Shakespeare’s plays?  


One comment on ““Love’s Labour Lost” by William Shakespeare

  1. Zachariah says:

    I haven’t read the play, but I’ve seen the BBC movie. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmV4VA8WFYc).
    I enjoyed it immensely! I liked how everyone was witty, as opposed just a character or two in the tragedies. I laughed and laughed.

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